Source: History, Winnebago County, Wisconsin: Its Cities, Towns, Resources, People By Publius Virgilius Lawson
Published by C.F. Cooper and Co., 1908
transcribed by Barbara Ziegenmeyer
Town of Algoma.
Town of Algoma lies on Big Lake Butte des Morts, and around the city of Oshkosh, with its east mile section on the shore of Lake Winnebago. It is the rural portion of the town not yet absorbed by the extension of the great city of Oshkosh. In the coming years, its fertile fields will be platted into city lots. It is composed of rolling rich agricultural and stock lands. Algoma creek crosses the town. The Fond du Lac Interurban crosses the east mile of the town, and the C., M. & St. P. railway runs through the town, with the station in the city. There are four school houses, but easy access to the city schools gives the advantage of city life.
Algoma contains a population of 876, of whom 609 were born in this state, fifteen in Canada, fifteen in Denmark, eighteen in England, seventy-two in Germany and ten in Wales. There are 10,175 acres in the town, of which 9,000 acres are improved, valued at over one million dollars. The sales in the region show the value per acre of $82. There was raised, by the census of 1905, 54,000 bushels oats, 14,000 barley, 17,000 corn, 8,000 potatoes, 7,600 apples; and the people possess 540 horses and 1,700 cattle. Their 1,092 milk cows produce 49,000 pounds of butter, and 5,000 fowls produce 20,000 dozen eggs.
This town was one of the very earliest localities settled by the real pioneer. Webster Stanley located on Coon-s Point when he came into the river from Winnebago Rapids by flatboat with his family in 1836. This location is now in the Fifth ward of the city of Oshkosh. Stanley put up his shanty and resided there during the summer, engaging in the ferry and hotel business. Coon-s Point is formed by the river and Big Lake Butte des Morts. In the fall Stanley left this site and carried the wreck of his shanty over onto the location selected by him east of the present Main street in the city of Oshkosh, and became the founder of the original location of Oshkosh. Mr. Chester Ford, father of Milan Ford, built a log house on the shore of Lake Winnebago on Ford's Point, later known as Wright's Point, in the winter of 1837, where he resided several years, and became the first settler of the town of Algoma. Next came Mr. William A. Boyd, a son-in-law of Mr. Chester Ford, who located on the farm afterward owned by Mr. J. P. Roe, who devoted it to small fruits and fancy stock. He was a brother of E. P. Roe, the author and writer of fiction. When Mr. Boyd came in June, 1840, he brought with him twenty-one sheep, the first introduced to the county. They were brought by boat from Cleveland to Green Bay, and driven over land from there on the Tomahawk trail. He brought with him a stock of leather and was the first shoemaker in the county. Afterwards he was a pioneer mail carrier, making the journey over the Tomahawk trail every two weeks from Saukeer to Green Bay. Hon. Joseph H. Osboril made a claim in the spring of 1846 and built a house. Mr. Osborn was an active pioneer, enterprising and progressive. By 1847 the land in the town was mostly taken up and was nearly all settled. Mr. John Stroud, an early settler, helped build the first saw mill. Mr. H. C. Jewell came into Algoma in 1848, engaging first in mercantile lines, and then in lumber and manufacturing. He was the first chairman of the town of Algoma at the first election held April 5, 1850.
The old village of Algoma, now absorbed into the Fifth ward of Oshkosh. was in pioneer days a flourishing village, with all the prospects of future prosperity. It was the site of Webster Stanley's first shanty, and the landing for Knaggs and Stanley's ferry, above Sawyer creek. In 1839, Mr. C. J. Coon arrived and purchased land from Robert Grignon, and commenced at once the erection of improvements. He was an energetic and enterprising man, and his location was soon occupied by Mr. D. W. Forman, Wm. Daggett, James Whittemore and Thomas C. Baker. Together they started a village. They constructed a saw mill, the first one in Oshkosh. Stores went up and the Eagle hotel was built, mechanic shops were established and a number of dwellings erected, making a promising show of a lively place. The Algoma post- office was established. Weed, Gumaer and Coon built a bridge over the Fox river at this point. The first grist mill in this region was erected at Algoma. The ancient village is now a phantom town, with all its flush days having served to raise the glory of other places, and it has left only a name.
Over on the shore of Big Lake Butte des Morts there are many country homes lining the high banks of the lake in a cluster, named by the citizens of the delightful place Oakwood. Near by is Waldwic, the handsome summer home of Hon. Edgar P. Sawyer. Over on the shore of Lake Winnebago the whole shore line of the town is occupied by summer homes and places, principal among them being the location named Stony Beach.
The town is rich in archeological monuments and relics. There was before the plow had destroyed them several aboriginal mounds on the farm of Mr. William W. Wright, at the present site of Stony Beach, in section 35. One of the best monuments remaining in the county of the aboriginal clay sculptured hieroglyphics, or effigy mounds, is the campus in the foreground in front of the summer cottages at Oakwood. It has been illustrated in "the Archeology of Winnebago County," 1903, by P. V. Law- son. The group consists of a panel made up with a single ring at one end and a double ring at the other end, with a line of three bird effigies and three panther mounds intermediate. The birds seem in a race with the panthers. The residents have been requested to preserve these beautiful and last works of a lost art, and a lost people, for the inspection of the future student. In former years there was an aboriginal cornfield near this place. On section seven, about two miles west of Oakwood, on the place formerly owned by James Hammer, there were four conical mounds, each about thirty feet in diameter and two feet high, all of which have been plowed down. There was an aboriginal cemetery on the same tract of land.
Town of Black Wolf.
Town of Black Wolf was named for the old chief of the Winnebago, who had his village on the banks of Lake Winnebago, seven miles south of Oshkosh, and in the territory of the town on a point of land known as Black Wolf Point. The history of Black Wolf is given in another place in this work. His Indian name was Shounk Tshunksiap. Mr. J. O. Lewis painted his portrait in 1827, to which he gives the name of Shounk Chunk. This picture is also found in "The Winnebago Tribe," by P. V. Lawson, 1907, and it certainly portrays Mrs. Kinzie s description of the fierce old chief, "whose lowering, surly face was described by his name," the fierce expression of his face was "greatly heightened by masses of heavy black hair." Dandy, the Beau Brummell of the Winnebago, was his son, and he was born at his father s village in this town about 1793. Black Wolf left this village before 1840, and Dandy before 1836, as he had a village at Baraboo by that date. Black Wolf died in Portage in 1847; and Dandy resisted deportation and died at Petenwell Bluff on the Wisconsin River in June, 1870. aged seventy-seven years. The corn hills and other evidence of Indian occupation can still be seen along the shore in the town. The village site was in section 21, about seven miles south of Oshkosh.
On Long Point bay, on Lake Winnebago, close to the southern line of the town, on a tract of land about 500 feet from the lake, there is about five acres of corn hills still visible which were left by the Indians. Grooved stone axes, celts, arrow points and spear points have been gathered from a neighboring field. An Indian burial place is nearby these fields.
A huge granite boulder, the largest glacial boulder in the county, is located on section 33, the property of Mr. Adolph Frieberg, at the water-s edge on the shore of Long Point bay. It is a prominent landmark in a district where there are no large boulders; it is angular in shape, measures eight feet across, stands five feet above ground, and is known to extend much farther below the surface. On the top there are two artificial basin-shaped depressions three inches deep, and highly polished, which were used as Indian corn mills or mortars for pounding grain. It has been called the Manitou rock. There are circular pits eight feet in diameter excavated in the ground three feet deep on La Belle Point, section 16, formerly Randall-s Point, now owned by E. H. Farnly. Mr. George A. Randall says they were used as dining pits by the aboriginals. There were formerly numerous Indian corn hills all over the surface at this place.
The town of Black Wolf is bordered on the east by the broken shore line of Lake Winnebago. It is drained by several small creeks and all its waters flow into the big lake. The rich farm lands were formerly covered with an open growth of hardwood timber known to the pioneer as openings. When wheat was the staple crop the grain of the town was noted for its excellent quality, and took first prize at the exposition in Paris in 1875. Bank gravel is found in quantity-for making good roads in the town. There are 699 people in the town, of whom 546 were born in Wisconsin, ninety-six in Germany and twelve in Switzerland. The town comprises 7,984 acres, with 6,430 acres improved and valued at $750.000. The sales made show an average value of $108 per acre. There is raised 3,000 bushels wheat, 44,000 oats, 26,000 barley, 16,000 corn, 7,000 potatoes, 2,800 apples and 6,000 tons hay. There are 329 horses, 1,200 cattle, 8,700 sheep on the farms, and 12,000 pounds of butter is made from 900 milk cows, while 4,000 fowls produce 15,000 dozen eggs. The town supports one creamery and four cheese factories.
The people of Oshkosh resort to the shore of the lake in the town for summer homes and cottages. A number of the places, such as Paukatuck in the town, and Stony Beach, Knapp-s Place, and Roe-s Point, adjoining in the town of Algoma, are thickly populated in the summer time.
The first to settle in the town was Mr. Clark Dickinson, who moved onto a tract of land in the north part of the town in the spring of 1841. He was a pioneer of the county, coming to Winnebago Rapids in 1834 as a government employee at the establishment of the mission. Then moving to Oshkosh, he helped to found that city, and later took up this land. A photograph, taken in 1866. showed him still a vigorous man. His name was given to Dickinson-s creek. He was followed by Mr. C. B. Luce. Ira Aiken, William and Thomas Armstrong, Charles Gay and T. and H. Hicks. Later there came Dr. Carey, a graduate of Edinburg college, with his wife, the daughter of a baronet; Mr. John Harney and William Greenwood. Francis Weyerhorst and a number of other Hollanders settled in 1847, and later. The Bangs family came in 1848. Mr. Milton Cleveland came from New York state. Mr. Henry C. Morgan moved to this town in 1851 and erected a saw mill on Murphy-s creek, and a hamlet, which he called Perryburg, sprang up around it, with a steamboat landing. Mr. Warren Morley came in 1849 and constructed a steamboat landing, from which cord wood was taken away by steamboats. He sent seven sons into the civil war. Mr. Charles Morgan came in 1857, and at first engaged with his brother in the saw mill at their village of Perryburg, but finally bought lands and maintained a fine stock farm. George A. Randall, city engineer of Oshkosh, formerly lived on the John Harney place. Mr. W. B. Knapp-s farm is in the most northerly part of the town, on the shore. The Howletts moved on their lands in 1849, when the town was known as Brighton. The Swiss settlement was begun in the woods as early as 1845, and from their first log cabins have grown large handsome homes, and the forest has disappeared from broad rich farms.
The Northwestern railway runs through the town, with a station at Vandyne. Rural mail delivery service reaches all parts of the town. There are now in the town five school houses, a number of churches and a town hall. The first log school was built in 1850 on the site of the present frame, and was taught by Mr. Warren Crosby, at a salary of twelve dollars per month.
Town of Clayton.
The town of Clayton lies on a plain made by the gradual rise of the lands from Little Lake Butte des Morts to an elevation of about 150 feet. The waters in the town shed west through Rat River into the Wolf river and east through Duck creek into Little Lake Butte des Morts. The elevated lands of this region are supposed to protect the cities of Menasha and Neenah from the full force of the gales that sometimes blow from the west. The land is a rich loam. Originally it was covered with oak openings, and the northern part was a hardwood forest. The population of Clayton is 1,143, of whom 933 were born in America, and 844 of these were born in this state. Of foreign birth there were 152 born in Germany, thirty in Denmark and twenty-three in Norway. The total acreage is 23,700, of which 16,500 acres are improved and valued at $1,700,000. There is raised 1,400 bushels wheat, 141,000 oats, 55,000 barley, 47,000 corn, 33,000 potatoes, 3,700 apples and 6,000 tons of hay. The live stock listed shows 800 horses, 2,300 hogs, 1,000 sheep, and 2,200 milk cows, which yield 27,000 pounds butter. There are 8,700 fowls, which produce 76,000 dozen eggs. The town contains two creameries, whose sales amount to $60,000, and three cheese factories, whose sales amount to $30.000.
Mr. D. C. Darrow and William Berry were the first pioneers to come in the fall of 1846. About the same time came Mr. Alexander Murray and John Axtell, followed soon after by Benjamin George. William Robinson and Benjamin Strong. In June, 1847, Mr. L. H. Brown purchased a large tract of land. Mr. Geo. W. Giddings. W. H. Scott, J. S. Roblee and Truman Thompson all made settlements during that year. In the year 1847 Mr. Giddings and Mr. Roblee erected a private school house, and Miss Elizabeth McLean was employed as teacher. The public school was erected in 1850, with Miss Amanda Hicks as teacher. In 1877 there were ten schools and 523 children of school age. The Wisconsin Central railroad crosses the town, with a station at Norwegian Island, or Medina. The post office at this place is named Crete. The Northwestern railroad also crosses the town, forming a junction at Medina with the other railway. Thompson's Corners was a well-known landmark for many years along the main highway to the woods and lumber camps. Mikesville now has a general store, blacksmith shop and cheese factory.
Town of Menasha.
The town of Menasha lies in the northeast corner of the county, cut through in the center by Little Lake Butte des Morts, so that nearly an equal area of the town lies on either side of the lake. The opposite parts cannot be reached except by a drive through the cities of Menasha and Neenah. It is for this reason that the voting place is located by law in the city of Neenah. The lands of the town are very fertile and large crops are raised.
The town of Menasha was originally covered with a dense forest of hardwood timber, oak, ash, hickory, basswood, soft and sugar maple. Along the banks of Little Lake Butte des Morts there are red clay banks clear from gravel, which is excellent material for brickmaking, and which has been used for that purpose since 1834. The brick burn to a cream color. The limestone quarries mentioned can be used for lime burning, the product being the strongest plaster lime obtainable in these parts. Mr. James Ladd, of West Meuasha, was the first in the town to adopt the Trenton to lime burning; but before that lime had been burned in the village of Neenah near the site of the present library from stone gathered from the bed of the river. The experiment was made by Mr. Ladd in 1849 on his farm in the town, and from his lime kiln he supplied the whole surrounding country with lime. The wreck of the old kiln can still be seen on the farm site. The lime for Lawrence University was burned in this old kiln, being hauled to Appleton and delivered at the building for fifteen cents a bushel. From the Galena and Trenton limestone quarries on the Jens Jorgensen farm, formerly the O. J. Hall farm, large quantities of rubble stone for foundations are obtained, and a stone crusher is kept constantly at work preparing crushed limestone for macadam roads and cement sidewalks in the adjacent cities of Menasha, Neenah and Appleton. There are also some fine quarries in the town west of the lake. Duck creek, often called Little river, as the name given it by Father Crespel in 1728, or Snell's creek, as he lived on its banks so long, runs through the west town and enters Little Lake Butte des Morts near the upper end of Stroebe island. The eastern half of the town is flat, but the west part of the town gradually rises to a height of possibly 100 feet elevation above the lake.
The Fox River Valley Interurban from Menasha to Appleton crosses the east town, running along the shore of Lake Winnebago, where numerous summer cottages and some hotels have been constructed, and during the summer harbor a large population from neighboring cities. The town is also crossed by the C., M. & St. P. railway from the city of Menasha, east to Milwaukee! north to Appleton. The Wisconsin Central crosses east from the city of Menasha to Fond du Lac, and north from Neenah to Minneapolis. The Northwestern railway crosses north to Marquette; but none of these railways maintain depots in the town.
There are a number of never failing springs. The Blair's spring in the glen on the old homestead on the lake shore road is quite notable. The old Tomahawk trail along the west bank of the Fox river ran to this spring and passed up onto the ridge or esker toward the southwest to the ford above Big Butte des Morts, thirteen miles away. The trail can still be traced in two places near Blair's Springs. The celebrated hill of the dead, named by the French Butte des Morts, was located in West Menasha on the high bank of Little Lake Butte des Morts, from which it takes its name. The hill was destroyed in 1863, when the Northwestern railway bridge was built across the lake. The Tomahawk trail passed the site of the hill and nearly one thousand feet of the ancient trail can still be traced north of the site. The Tomahawk trail ran along the west bank of the Fox river from Green Bay to just beyond the Hill of the Dead, when it ran inland to Blair's Spring, as mentioned above.
The historic monument, Little Butte des Morts, known as the Hill of the Dead, was visited by Wisconsin's pioneer archeologist. Dr. Increase A. Lapham, on June 14, 1851, and as described and figured by him in his "Antiquities of Wisconsin." He says of it: The first one (mound) in ascending the river (Fox), being on the west side of Little Lake Butte des Morts, a name indicating the existence of the mound, and the purpose for which it was erected. This tumulus is about eight feet high and fifty feet in diameter. It is to be hoped that a monument so conspicuous and so beautifully situated may be forever preserved as a memento of the past. It is a picturesque and striking object in passing along this fine lake and may have been the cause of serious reflections and high resolves to many a passing savage. It is well calculated to affect not less the bosoms of more enlightened men.
There is neither necessity nor excuse for its destruction; and we cannot but again express the hope that it will be preserved for the benefit of all who may pass along that celebrated stream. The summit of the mound is about fifty feet above the lake, affording a very pleasing view, embracing the lake and the entrance to the north channel of the river. Among the articles discovered in the field nearby was some burnt clay in irregular fragments with impressions of the leaves and stems of grass, precisely like those found at Aztalan. This has been a place of burial and, perhaps, of well-contested battles; for the plough constantly turns up fragments of human bones and teeth, much broken and decayed. Arrow points of flint and pipes of red pipe- stone and other materials have also been brought to light." The tradition of the origin of the "Hill of the Dead" is well known, having been included in nearly every important work on Wisconsin history. According to this tradition the tumulus was erected by the Indians as a repository for the bones of warriors and others who fell in a terrible battle which took place here at some period not definitely known, probably during the early part of the eighteenth century, during the long war of extermination waged against the Fox Indians by the French. The direct cause of the attack upon the village is said to have been due to a custom of the Fox Indians of exacting tribute from all voyagers who passed this point. This levying of a tax on goods becoming a nuisance, one Capt. Perriere Marin. or Morand, received the permission of the authorities at Quebec to undertake the chastisement of the offenders. Repairing to Michilimackinac, he proceeded to organize his expedition, which is said to have consisted of a number of strongly-built batteux covered with canvas and manned by soldiers, boatmen and Indian allies. With this force he proceeded to Green Bay and thence up the Fox river to near the Indian village. Here he divided his forces, one detachment making a detour by land to the rear and the remainder continuing to the village in the boats, the soldiers being well secreted behind the canvas coverings. In response to the customary hail from the shore the steersmen turned their boats toward the land, and at the proper moment, at a command from the supposed peaceable trader, Marin, the canvas coverings were raised by the soldiers and a deadly volley poured into the assembled horde of unsuspecting savages. In the meantime the detachment which had been sent to the rear of the village had set fire to the wigwams and cut off the means of retreat. The battle which ensued is said to have been a most desperate one, thousands of warriors, women and children being slaughtered by the French and their allies.
One of the most notable events occurring at the "Hill of the Dead" was the great council of August, 1827, at which several thousand Chippewas, Winnebago and Menominees were assembled to meet Gen. Lewis Cass and Col. Thomas L. McKinney, the United States commissioners appointed for the purpose of apportioning the lands of the various tribes represented and fixing their proper boundaries. Chief John W. Quinne, an educated Stockbridge Indian, with Eleazer Williams, the "Lost Dauphin," were present as representatives of the New York Indians, who had been ceded lands along the Fox river by the Menominees. There was also present at this treaty a command of United States regulars and volunteer troops, who had halted en route to the seat of the Winnebago war. It was during this council (on August 7, 1872) that the young Indian Oiscoss, or "Oshkosh," as the name is spelled in the treaty, was formally selected by the commissioners and recognized as the head chief of the Menominee Indians. It is greatly to be regretted that Dr. Increase A. Lapham's wishes, so strongly expressed in regard to the preservation of this historic monument, should not have been heeded. In the year 1863 the Chicago and Northwestern railway constructed a pile bridge across Little Butte des Morts Lake and made a deep cut through this point on the south side of and within thirty feet of the mound. Subsequently they excavated and removed the gravel at this place over an area of about five acres to a depth of about thirty feet, and with it, regardless of tradition or history, went the "Hill of the Dead." Thus it happened that the bones and implements of the aborigines entombed therein were strewn along the railway right of way for miles. After one-third of the mound had crumbled into the pit made by the busy pick and shovel, a large pocket of human bones was plainly exposed near its base. All about the outer surface, in shallow graves, were the remains of a great number of skeletons, possibly representing burials of a later date than those found at its base. As I can find no indication of an aboriginal cemetery in this vicinity that may be ascribed to the Fox Indians, who resided from 1683 to 1728, or later, within a mile of the mound, I have come to the conclusion that some of these latter interments were those of members of that tribe. I am informed, on good authority, that the early settlers and physicians often resorted to this mound for skeletons.
The "Hill of the Dead" was probably never properly surveyed. According to Augustin Grignon it was "some six or eight rods in diameter and perhaps some fifteen feet high."l The author-s measurements were obtained from Mr. C. V. Donaldson, of Menasha, and old residents of the neighborhood, who state that it was of an oval form, having a long diameter of sixty feet and short diameter of thirty-five feet. The height, corresponding with that given by Grignou and others, is fifteen feet. It was located a distance of 360 feet west of the lake shore and 300 feet south of the east and west quarter line of section 16.
About one-half mile west of the "Hill of the Dead" there is another eminence, apparently artificial, which has been referred to by Mr. Richard Harney* in connection with the foregoing as the "two hills of the dead." It is nine feet in height, 100 feet in diameter and is built of boulders and gravel. It is now overgrown with trees and bushes. No attempt has been made to investigate it.
In the vicinity of this mound there are a number of stone circles, each about four feet in diameter, constructed of boulders about ten inches in thickness. The areas enclosed within these circles have become filled in with earth and many of the circles almost hidden beneath the accumulation. From the center of one has grown a great oak tree so that the stones now lie in a ring about its base. In a cornfield adjoining north of the woodland, in which these are located, there were formerly hundreds of such circles, which the thrifty husbandman has now cleared from the field.
The village site stockade embankment of the Outagamie (Fox) Indian village, of which a full description and history has been given by the author in the "Proceedings" of the Wisconsin State Historical Society for the year 1900, is located on the farm of Mr. Henry Race, in the southeast quarter of section 8, one mile northwest of the "Hill of the Dead" and three-quarters of a mile west of Little Butte des Morts lake. Being driven from Michigan after their battle with the French and their Indian allies at Detroit in the year 1712, the remnant of the Fox Indians who took part in that raid returned to their Wisconsin ancient village site- in West Menasha, and endeavored to form an alliance with other Wisconsin tribes for the purpose of again harassing the French, with the result that a war of extermination was ordered by the authorities in Quebec, and the fifty years' war was again in full flame.
In 1716, Sieur de Louvigny, in command of an army of 500 French and 1,000 Iroquois, came to Wisconsin seeking the Foxes. In the meantime the Fox Indians had prepared for his coming by erecting a strong stockade consisting of a triple row of oak palisades, with an outer ditch. From within this strongly fortified enclosure 500 warriors and 3,000 women for a period of three days successfully defended themselves against the French and their cannon. At the end of this time propositions for peace were received and a treaty finally concluded between the opposing forces. The French affected to suppose the Foxes failed to carry out their agreement under the treaty, and in 1728 Sieur de Louvigny came to Wisconsin with a second expedition for the purpose of subduing them; but the Indians, being warned of his coming, only empty villages were found. These and the stockade were burned and destroyed by the French. The stockade embankment, which is still to be seen, partially encloses about seven and a half acres of land. The central portion is 700 feet in length and its two wings each 450 feet in length. It is twenty- five feet in width and now about three feet in height. On one wing and corner are bastion-like extensions, the probable site of block houses. The rear may have been otherwise defended. A low embankment 200 feet in length in a field a slight distance to the west is supposed to indicate the position of the trenches built by the French in their attack on the palisade. A description of this stockade has also been published by the author in the "Milwaukee Sentinel" of September 10, 1899, and these events are more fully outlined on another page of this work.!
The Great Serpent mounds are located about one and a half miles west of Little Butte des Morts lake, and about two and one-half miles northwest of the city of Neenah. It is only about 500 feet northwest of the remains of the old Fox stockade embankment just described. The country about is old farming land. One of the mounds has never been disturbed, while the other one has been plowed over in parts and largely removed with scrapers. The two reptiles are apparently rushing toward each other. Between their heads runs a very small creek four feet wide and dry in summer, but which in 1728 was large enough a half mile below to admit several hundred canoes bearing the French and Iroquois army, which came to assault the Fox Indian village nearby. West of the mounds the land sinks into a basin, so that they seem to lie along the edge of the sharp depression of about three feet to the basin. They are constructed of red clay similar to the surrounding subsoil and with a few inches of vegetable mold on one and much more on the other. At the bottom of the slope along which they lie, there is an artificial ditch extending their whole length (except at certain points in the one, which has been plowed over), which is now from three inches to two feet in depth. It is deepest at the head and gradually grows less deep toward the extremities, where it disappears with the tails of the mounds. The stumps on the mounds are numerous and some of them three feet through, showing ages from forty to one hundred and fifty years. The heads of the reptiles are not distinctly outlined, but are flat as if mashed. In the jaws of one there is a four-foot elm stump. One of the mounds is a prominent feature of the landscape, as it can be seen from quite a distance. Its peculiar serpentine shape is very striking. The length of mound A is 1,210 feet, and of the other, mound B, 1,580 feet, making for both of them a total length of 2,790 feet, or half a mile. A drawing of these immense leviathans, lying full length upon the ground, made on a scale of one hundred feet to the inch, cannot convey to the mind any idea of the numerous coils and curves which make up the mounds. One great loop runs out twenty-five feet and returns within a few feet of its starting point. From the neck the mounds grow gradually higher and broader toward the middle of the effigies, then as gradually and gracefully grow smaller and smaller until they disappear into the surrounding soil. The smaller one ends among a lot of stumps, and the larger one up in the top soil of rock outcrop of Trenton limestone. The lands across which the mounds lie are divided into half a dozen fields, with as many owners.
At various places in the southern portion of this town and in the town of Neenah, on the Blair, Jennijohn, Moulton, Hankey and other farms, some burials or gravel pit interments are frequently disturbed in taking out the material for road work. These graves are usually at a depth of but a few feet beneath the surface. They are generally about two feet wide and deep and six feet long. The bones lie in a horizontal position, the direction varying greatly. From a pit near the "Hill of the Dead" the author obtained, in 1882, a dozen shreds of shell-tempered earthenware, several fragments of a carved bone and a number of bone awls. During the summer of 1902 a number of human bones and a copper spear-point found with them were taken from a pit on the Blair property by workmen. The gravel ridge in which these interments occur extends from this point across portions of the towns of Neeuah, Vinland and Winneconne to Big Butte des Morts lake. On the farm of Mr. W. Weaver, in the southwest quarter of section 17, near a stone quarry, human bones and a considerable number of stone implements have been found at different times.
Evidences of the former existence of shell heaps are to be seen at the south side of the mouth of Sill's creek, or Duck creek, where it empties into Little Butte des Morts Lake, near its lower end, in the northeast corner of section 3. The surface of the ground at this place is white with fragments and flakes of broken and decomposed clam shells over an area of three acres or more. The writer has collected from this site upwards of fifty finely chipped flint arrow points, several bone and horn awls and a considerable quantity of pot sherds. The most of the latter are fabric marked and tempered with black quartz. Two sockette copper spear points, one of which has the surface of its blade ornamented with small regular indentations, have also been obtained. The prevailing style of pottery decoration is in the chevron or triangular patterns, impressed in dotted and continuous lines made with a pointed implement or with twisted cords.
The town of Neenah, as stated in another page, originally included the towns of Menasha, Vinland and Clayton. After Vinland and Clayton had been set oft and the village of Menasha sprung up around the north outlet of Fox river in 1848, there was constant friction in the town meetings between the citizens of Winnebago Rapids and the hamlet starting up at Menasha. The contest originally grew out of the strife for roads, school money and the location of the place of holding town meetings. The natural place for the meetings was where it had always been held at Winnebago Rapids, now Neenah; but the village of Menasha desired that half the time it should be held in Menasha. This desire was finally accomplished by Meuasha friends polling the most votes. Then the Neenah people determined to divide the town. The Menasha people opposed this. The place of holding the town election or town meeting was established by law at Neenah. Menasha having for a long time agitated the holding of the election alternately at that place and Neenah, the question was voted on April 5, 1853, and decided in favor of Neenah as the place of holding the next town meeting and against dividing the town 182 votes for Neenah and 160 votes for Menasha. At the next annul town meeting, April 2, 1854, a vote was taken to decide the place of holding the general election of 1854 and the annual meeting for 1855; 239 votes were cast for the Decker House in Menasha and 147 votes for R. C. Wheeden's brick hotel in Neenah. Menasha was at last victorious, and Neenah, being dissatisfied, made an application to the county board to divide the town, which was opposed by Menasha; but the town was divided and the town of Menasha set off from the town of Neenah. The cemetery had been located in West Menasha, as described in another place, and in the division a jog south was made in the straight east and west line of the division to carry the line through the center of the cemetery, giving half to each town.
The first permanent settler in the town is regarded as James Ladd, who with his family located near his future farm in the fall of 1846 in one of the log houses built by the Government for the Indians. This block house stood on the corner on the Blair premises. Mr. Ladd was born in Sudbury. Vt., May 16, 1799. removing with his parents to the state of New York at an early age, where he remained until 1845, when he traveled to Beaver Dam, in Wisconsin. He has told the story of the first settlement himself in a letter written in 1877 : ''In March, 1846, in company with Deacon Mitchell and Mr. Wheatley, I arrived in Neenah, then known as Winnebago Rapids. We came from Dodge county, but had to leave our team on the other side of the river in Oshkosh. cross the river in a skiff and proceed on foot, following the Indian trail through the woods. We found at Winnebago Rapids a few log or block houses built by the Government for the benefit of the Indians, also the Government mills. At this time there were seven or eight families within four miles of Neenah and a large sprinkling of Indians. We stopped over night with Harrison Reed and made inquiries of him concerning Government land. He directed us to Governor Doty on the island and there we were directed to Mr. Pendleton, who lived on the Cronkhite place, he being the oldest settler and best acquainted with the country. We got what information we could respecting the best locations and started off through the woods to look for land and lost our way. After wandering a long time we found an Indian trail, which brought us to Mr. Jourdain s, on the Neff farm. It was late in the afternoon and we were tired and hungry, but there we were served to a good dinner of wild duck. After wandering about through woods and brush, crossing the streams in a skiff, I concluded to make a claim where I now live. In October following I moved my family into a block house with Mr. Coldwell, who lived with an Indian wife on the Blair place. Other families moved in that summer and fall. We had no way to cross the lower lake with teams but to ford it, going into the lake by the old mill and guiding our course by an old oak on the Jourdain place, the water coming up to the middle of the wagon box, so that we were obliged to place ourselves and effects on top of the box to keep dry.
"Some Frenchmen with a load of calico and trinkets going through to trade with the Indians at their annual gathering to receive their annuity from the Government, in attempting to cross just at night to stop with me, there being no place in Neenah to stop, got out of the right course into deep water with a muddy bottom. They called for assistance and I went to them in a skiff. The men and horses were rescued, but wagon and goods were left to soak over night. The next morning, by means of long poles tied together and the oxen, the wagon was drawn ashore. They dried their goods and resumed their journey, thinking they would be none the less valuable to the redskins for having been soaked.
"My house, which consisted of three rooms with low chambers. was the only stopping place for travelers that winter west of the slough and the lake. That fall the settlers who were here clubbed together, there being no town board to raise an extra tax, to hire the Indians to cut a road through to the Oneida settlement. a distance of fourteen miles. We were to furnish them with provisions while they did the work. That road connected with a road to Green Bay, which was the only way we could reach the bay with teams. The Indians camped in rude huts as they worked their way along, taking my house for the terminus of the road, which they reached one night, headed by their chief, Mr. Breed. We gave them (twenty in number) a good supper, after which each took his blanket and lay down before our old-fashioned fireplace. Before leaving in the morning they presented me a cane with a snake-s head neatly carved on the top of it. These Indians brought us our lumber for the first building in Neenah from their mills on Duck creek.
"Some six or eight of the settlers agreed to pay me $100 to build a bridge at the big slough, which I did by making cribs of logs, laying stringers from crib to crib and covering with poles. This bridge was completed in the spring and lasted a number of years.
"One of my family was taken sick that spring and I sent to Oshkosh for a physician, there being none nearer; but he did not understand the case, and I sent to Stockbridge for Rev. Dr. Cutting Marsh. The only way to get there was to cross the lake in a skiff. Mr. C. Northrup, of Menasha, went across, a distance of fourteen miles, and returned with the doctor. We had to take him home and send for him a second time in the same way.
"Work on the Neenah dam was begun in 1847, and as there was no place to board the men, I built the barn back of the Winnebago House, moved into it and took fifty boarders, besides keeping what travelers came along. I have no record of the arrivals, but think there would be a long list. We often had to make a barrel of flour in a day. We lived in the town that summer and until I built the Winnebago House. The work on the dam caused quite an influx of men this year, while large numbers were constantly arriving for the purpose of taking up claims of Government lauds, and on the whole it was quite busy during the fall of that year. During the winter the territory was changed to a state. The first town meeting in Neenah was held in the spring of 1847. Governor Doty, Cornelins Northrup and myself were appointed supervisors and Lucins Donaldson town clerk.
Mr. Joseph Jourdain conducted the blacksmith shop down on the bank of Little Lake Butte des Morts, near the sawmill, for the Menominee Indian Mission, under the Government factor, in 1834, until the mission was abandoned under the treaty of Cedar Point, September 3, 1836. It is supposed that he afterward occupied with his family the block house in the town of Menasha, located on the place, which Thomas Jourdain, his son, took up as Government land in 1848. During a part of the time Joseph Jourdain was blacksmith to the Menominee with shops and buildings at Winneconne. Thomas Jourdain resided on the place he had purchased until 1871, when he moved to the city of Menasha, holding the position of policeman or marshal. He was a large, powerful man, and because of his good nature and common sense had a host of friends. The old blacksmith, Joseph Jourdain, of whom mention has been made under the history of Neenah, is possibly entitled to be regarded as the first settler of the town of Neenah, and after Menasha was set off he would be regarded as the first settler of the lands afterward included in the town. After the mission at Neenah was abandoned there is every reason to suppose that Joseph Jourdain remained living in the block house, where he afterward lived until his death in 1866, the land being purchased by his son Thomas as soon as opened for purchase. Mr. James Ladd mentions this Jourdain place when he moved into the town. It is supposed that Joseph Jourdain remained located on that place from 1836 until his death in 1866, excepting the few years he was in charge of the blacksmith shop at Winneconne for the Menominee. Mr. Thomas Jourdain was a blacksmith and assistant to his father at both the Neenah and Winneconne shops. The Jourdain family history and genealogy has been furnished for this work by Mr. J. P. Schumacher, of Green Bay, whose wife was a descendant. The family becomes interesting as among the earliest residents of the county and permanent settlers, as well as for the marriage of a daughter to the celebrated Eleazer Williams, to whom history points very clearly as the lost Louis XVII, King of France. Joseph Jourdain was born at Three Rivers, near Montreal, Canada, January 12, 1780. where he lived until May 10, 1798, when he appeared in La Bay, now Green Bay, the first blacksmith to locate in Wisconsin, a prominent and necessary character in the romantic back-woods life of the early pioneers. An expert at his profession, he could fashion a razor or a sword as well as an ax, or hatchet, or shovel, and made the locks for their cabins and the cranes to do the cooking for the family, and andirons for the great open fireplace, and the shovels and tongs, the pans and copper kettles for the good housewife, repaired the guns and adjusted the flints for the early hunters. He made the spears and the fishhooks to catch the sturgeon and other fish, forged his tools to work with and made his own forge and bellows. The pipe tomahawk he made of old gun barrels were marvels of the smith's art. They were graceful and beautiful in design, a crescent on the side of the blade being inlaid with copper from an old French penny. The handles were made from an ironwood sapling and served as a stem for the pipe. One of these pipes is in the collection of George A. West, of Milwaukee, and Dr. Tanner has one in Kaukauna, and Mr. Benedict, of Butte des Morts, has one. Mr. Jourdain for a long time was armorer and smith for the military post at Fort Howard and for a short time at Camp Smith, Green Bay; then he built himself a house and shop on the site where the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul depot now stands. Mrs. M. Lefevre has a picture of this house. In 1834 or earlier he took a claim of eighty acres of land at Bay Settlement (now town of Scott), five miles northeast of the city of Green Bay, on the east shore of Green Bay, and built a large house there. He gave the place to his daughter, Marguerite (Mrs. D. J. Parent), whose son, Medrions Parent, lives there at present and owns the place.
About the year 1834 Mr. Jourdain moved to Winnebago Rapids, now Neenah, as mentioned above, where the sub-mission for the Menominee Indians was established, where he held the position of armorer and blacksmith, his shop being at the foot of the Winnebago Rapids at Little Butte des Morts lake, the site of which is now covered by the Neenah writing-paper mill of the Kimberly-Clark Company. He made his home over the lake in the town of Menasha in one of the log cabins erected by the Government. After the agency was closed he remained and was the earliest permanent resident of the town of Menasha. He was a devout Catholic and his name is found on all the subscription lists for building churches and maintaining the priest. For several years he was treasurer of the church at La Bay. He was five feet six inches tall and straight as an arrow, heavily built and a handsome man, his deportment courtly, his manners pleasant, amiable and kind. He was known and esteemed far and wide as of a cheerful and peaceful disposition, considerate to the poor, and no one was ever suffered to leave his shop without their work on account of poverty. It was said of him that he had no enemies and never had any trouble with anyone, and the Indians loved him as their father. He died at Green Bay when on a visit May 22, 1866, at the age of 86 years, 4 months and 10 days, and is buried in Allouez Cemetery, where his grave is marked with an iron cross.
At the age of 23 years on January 2, 1803, he was married to Marguerite Gravelle, who was born at Prairie du Chien, October 14, 1781. Her mother was a daughter of the Espagnol, chief of the Menominee Indians, who served in the War of 1812. Her father was Michael Gravelle. She died at Menasha and was buried beside her husband in Allouez Cemetery, where her grave is marked with an iron cross.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jourdain had eight children, two boys and six girls:
(1) William, born at Green Bay in 1804. He was a blacksmith by trade and had a shop at Portage, Wisconsin, for many years, then moved to Green Bay, and later lived with his daughter, Mrs. Marguerite Lafond, at Two Rivers, where he died in 1888 at the age of 84 years.
(2) Mary Magdalene, born at Green Bay, December 15, 1806, became the wife of Rev. Eleazer Williams, the lost King. Louis XVH of France. March 3, 1823. at the home of her parents. Judge James Porlier officiating, in the presence of Gen. Albert G. Ellis and Ebenezer Childs. After their marriage they repaired to their estate of 4,800 acres at Little Rapids, given to her by the chiefs of . the Menominee, fourteen miles above Green Bay. Of their three children only John Lawe Williams lived to grow to manhood. He was born at this home January 1, 1825. At her confirmation in the old Trinity Church on Broadway. New York, by Bishop Hobart he gave her the name of Mary Hobart Williams. She lived twenty-eight years after the death of her husband and died at her home July 22, 1886. and was buried in Woodlawn cemetery in Green Bay, Judge E. H. Ellis reading the Episcopal service. Visitors say "her house was as neat as wax." By her will she provided for her old Indian domestic, "Nan." whose descendants own the historic old log cabin home. Her son, John Lawe Williams, as described under the history of Winneconne. came into possession of the 160-acre farm on the west side of the river at that place in 1849. When sixteen years of age he was with his father. Rev. Williams, on the steamboat when presented to the Prince de Joinville, an incident in the now famous interviews with the son of King Louis Philippe. December 26, 1851, he married Mrs. Jane Pattison Encry at Fond du Lac, a sister of Mrs. Judge George Gary. Mrs. Matt Hasbrouck and Mrs. S. R. Clark, all of Oshkosh. They resided at Winneconne until the farm was sold in 1868. when they moved to Oshkosh. While in the woods at Tiger- ton he was fatally injured by a falling log. and died September 22, 1883. The funeral service was conducted by Rev. F. R. Haff, the late venerable Episcopal rector, and the Masonic service was conducted by the late Col. Gabe Bouek. He was buried in the cemetery at Oshkosh. There were three children George, Louis and Eugene. The last two born in Oshkosh died young. George Williams, their oldest child and now the last of the Bourbons, was born in Winneconne, November 8, 1852. He attended school in Oshkosh and is remembered by many friends there. He has resided for many years in St. Louis; has been married since 1884. but has no children. Mrs. John Lawe Williams, his widowed mother, now resides with her son in St. Louis. (3) The third child, Josephine, died young.
(4) The fourth child was Susan, born at Green Bay, July 22, 1809. She was married at Green Bay, January 18, 1834, to Major De Quinder by Father Handrail at the Shanty Town Mission Church. Major De Quinder was a merchant at Green Bay and died there May 23, 1864. They had no children, but always a houseful of orphans and homeless children. They adopted a girl baby and named her Matilda, who afterwards married Frank Fay, and still lives at Green Bay. Mrs. Susan De Quinder died at Green Bay, June 8, 1893, and is buried in Allouez Cemetery.
(5) The fifth child was Marguerite Monie, born November 1, 1812, at Green Bay. She was married at Green Bay, February 3, 1836, at the mission church at Shantytown by Father Sandrall to D. J. Parent, of Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Parent was born at Sandwich. Ontario, Canada. February 17. 1809, where he attended school till he was 18 years old, when he learned the wagon- maker's trade at Detroit. On June 12, 1831, he sailed from Detroit for Green Bay, where he arrived July 9 and entered the employ of Gen. Albert G. tills. From 1832 till 1836 he was employed at the garrison of Fort Howard. In 1836 he opened a wagon shop of his own at Green Bay, and in 1841 moved to Bay Settlement, on the claim given to his wife by her father, where he spent the remainder of his life on the farm and where he died Friday, January 30, 1885, and was buried February 2 at Holy Cross Cemetery, Bay Settlement, by Rev. Father Canterells. Mrs. Marguerite Monie Parent was probably the best known woman in Bay Settlement. She was doctor and nurse for the whole settlement, as there was no regular doctor in the settlement. She died March 26, 1899. at the age of 87 years. The funeral services were held at Holy Cross Church, Bay Settlement, and burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, same place, Rev. Canterells officiating.
(6) The sixth child born was Domitile, born at Green Bay, May 12, 1814. She married Joseph Parent, of Detroit, Michigan, where they went to live, and died there January 5, 1834. One son was born to them. He died at Detroit when a young man.
(7) The seventh child was Christine, born at Green Bay, March 4, 1816. She married Polite Grignon,I and died July 2, 1857. Three children were born to them one son and two daughters. They live at Milwaukee at present.
(8) The eighth child was Thomas, born at Green Bay in 1823, the same as described above as the companion of his father's smithy at Neenah and Winneconne and with whom his parents lived from 1834 to the time of their death. He was married, and his wife died last fall in Green Bay. He was killed in the writing- paper mill fire, deseribed under the history of the city of Menasha. They had no children. Mr. Louis T. Jourdain. now residing with his family on Nicolet avenue, Neenah, engaged in insurance and real-estate, is an adopted son, having lived nearly his whole hoy- hood days in the family and given their name.
Mr. Wells E. Blair located on the place so long occupied by him in 1850. At first he moved with his family into one of the better Government block honses near the Blair Springs. This was one of the better and larger houses built for the teachers. It was, as Mrs. Blair says, "excellent and substantial, well framed and finished, made of hewn or square logs. Near this was one of the log houses built for the Indians, which we used for a barn. Later in 18ti1 we built a stone house (still standing) and moved into it." Mrs. Blair is living in Madison with her daughter, Miss E. Helen Blair.
Mr. Michael Kerwin was one of the earliest pioneers in the town and county. He carved his splendid domain out of the primeval forest of hardwoods and made his wide acres into a thrifty, fruitful farm. The Kerwin family has been celebrated in Ireland and America, many of its members being highly educated and displaying great intelligence as priests and lawyers. Many of them came to America and attained considerable prominence in religious and civic life as well as military affairs. Gen. Michael Kerwin, of New York, was one of them. This biography is mostly of some of the descendents of James lan, of the same place, who was born there in 1790 and died in Wisconsin in 1877 at the age of 86 years. Their son, Michael Kerwin, was born in Tipperary county, Ireland, in 1815. He married Mary Buckley in Ireland, daughter of Walter Buckley, of Ireland, where he was born in 1790 and died in 1830. His wife was Mary Clary, who died when her daughter, Mary Buckley, was an infant. Mary was born in 1821 in Ireland in County Tipperary. Michael Kerwin went to Canada from Ireland in 1844 and remained there until 1848, when he returned to Ireland and married Mary Buckley. They came to America, settling on a large farm in the town of Menasha, Winnebago county, Wisconsin, in 1848, and lived there until his death in 1902, his wife, Mary Kerwin, having died in 1873. He was one of the first settlers in Winnebago county and helped to make the first canal improvements on Fox river, which were made from Neenah to Kaukauna, aiding in building the first dams on the Fox river and helping to clear brush and timber from the lands now occupied by the cities of Neenah, Menasha and Appleton. Seven children were born to Michael and Mary Kerwin Margaret Kerwin (Mrs. P. McGanu), Judge J. C. Kerwin, Bridget Kerwin, John Kerwin, Mary Kerwin, Walter Kerwin, and Dr. M. H. Kerwin, three of whom, Mary; Walter and Dr. M. H. Kerwin having died.
Dr. Michael H. Kerwin. Who, though young in years, had obtained by his ability a high place in his chosen profession of medicine, was, to the great grief of his numerous friends, stricken down just as he had gained the highest honors in preparation for his life work. "The Transactions of the State Medical Society" had this to say of him: "Born May 14, 1855, in the town of Menasha, Winnebago county, Wisconsin, on his father's farm, and until of adult age his time was spent on the farm, summers at work and winters in the school. He graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1876, practiced for a few months at Hilbert Junction, Wisconsin, and then removed to Seymour, Wisconsin, where he soon built up a very large and lucrative practice. In 1881 he went to New York and spent a year at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, receiving his second degree from this institution in 1882. He then returned to Seymour and resumed his practice. In 1887 he went to Europe and remained abroad two years, studying in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Prague and Paris. He returned in 1889 to Seymour and again resumed practice, remaining there about one year, when he removed to Milwaukee in 1890. When the announcement was made that Prof, Robert Koch had discovered a cure for consumption he again took his departure for Berlin and was able to bring to Wisconsin the first vial of Koch's lymph. On March 7, 1891, from an acute intestinal disease and after an illness of but two days he died at 35 years of age. At the time of his death there probably was not a physician in Wisconsin of his age so well informed and so well known as he. Dr. Kerwin was a most diligent student. He read and spoke German almost with the same ease that he did English, and he also acquired a good knowledge of French, reading it without difficulty. Dr. Kerwin was by nature well calculated for a physician tender, generous, sympathetic and genial. Always considerate of the feelings and sensibilities of others, he made friends wherever he went. Sober, industrious, self-reliant, cool and collected under the most trying circumstances, his patients had not only the utmost confidence in his ability, but they loved and honored him for his untiring devotion to their cause as well as for his sterling honesty and integrity. During his stay in Seymour he acquired a large practice. It is difficult to grasp and comprehend the position and practice he might have attained had he lived the allotted threescore years and ten. Cut off in the vigor of young manhood when he had gained a most enviable position and practice in the city of Milwaukee, his untimely death has cast a gloom over the entire state of Wisconsin." The celebrated late Dr. Nicholas Senn, of Chicago, and the leading physician of the West, kindly remembers Dr. Kerwin in this generous language: "I knew Dr. Kerwin well. He was a young physician of great promise, a polished gentleman, a faithful student and most conscientious practitioner."
His brother, Judge James C. Kerwin. now Justice of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, son of Michael Kerwin, the pioneer, was born on the farm in this town May 4, 1850, son of Michael and Mary Kerwin. Mr. Kerwin passed his early life on a farm, attended district school and graduated at Menasha High School in 1870. He then attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated in the law department in 1876. He studied law with Judge A. L. Collins at Menasha and was admitted to the bar in the Circuit Court of Dane county, then the Supreme Court, in 1875, the U. S. courts in 1875 and the U. S. District and Circuit Court by Judge Charles E. Dyer, July 10,1878, at Oshkosh. After his admission he plied himself with unremitting energy to the practice of law in the city of Neenah. He was one of the board of regents of the State University of Wisconsin, is a Republican in politics and supported Gov. Robert M. La Follette. He has won some very important cases. One was the railroad bond case of the town of Menasha. The case had been fought in all the courts and the bonds won. It was a long standing.aml acknowledged by all to be a hopeless defense by the town. When he took hold of the case it did look useless; but he made a successful defense for the town and they did not pay the bonds. Another very important case was the celebrated Krueger vs. the Wisconsin Telephone Company, in which he established before the Supreme Court the right of the property owner to prevent setting of poles on the street in front of his property and obtained damages against them for doing so, and had an injunction to remove the pole. It was said that the decision would cost the corporations requiring the use of poles in the highway more than $50,000.000. We copy the following notice from the "Oshkosh Times" of December 23, 1902: "For many years Mr.Kerwin has been recognized as the foremost attorney in Neenah and one of the best known men in the profession in this section of the state, a distinction he has gained solely upon his merits as a lawyer, for, unlike most of his brethren, he is a total abstainer from the alluring influences of politics. Mr. Kerwin is noted as a man of forceful characteristics, learned in the- fundamental principles as well as the intricacies of law, and strong, clear and convincing as a trial lawyer. By reason of these distinctive qualities in his make-up he has been more than successful and his services have been eagerly sought in prominent cases from all parts of the state. Mr. Kerwin is one of the busiest men in his profession in this part of the country and, although of a wonderful capacity, his time is taxed to the utmost. He is one of the leading citizens of Neenah and has done much to promote the welfare of the city and make it what it is today. He has hundreds of friends in Neenah and the surrounding country, as he is a gentleman who makes many friends and always retains them." Three years ago after a sharp contest he was elected to the Supreme Court by the immense majority of 14.000 over an opponent favored by all the railway and largest financial influences in the state. He was married in 1880 to Miss Helen Elizabeth Lawson. Their daughter Jessie was married January 4, 1908, to Mr. Charles Benjamin Clark, of the Kimberly-Clark Company, and their daughter Grace was married May 27, 1908, to Mr. John Sensenbrenner, son of Mr. Frank J. Sensenbrenner, first vice-president of the same paper-making firm.
The late Mr. Phillip Verbeck resided in the town from a very early date and was always a prominent man in its civic, moral and educational affairs. He was retained in the position of chairman for many years. It was due to his persistent efforts that the town finally beat the bondholders in the attempt to collect the railroad bonds from the town. Mr. A. D. Paige moved from the village of Menasha on to his farm in East Menasha at an early day and always took a lively interest in the town affairs. Mr. Charles Derby resided for a good many years on a well improved farm of eighty acres in West Menasha. He was several times chairman and held other offices. Mr. Andrew Frederickson, who purchased his old place on the lake shore in . 1860 and on to which he moved in 186,3, made the farm profitable. The place at last contained 175 acres. On this he bred improved stock and Clydesdale horses. For a good many years he acted as chairman of the town board.
Capt. Lankland B. MacKinnon introduced into the county the first blooded stock. In April. 1854, he wrote the "Menasha Advocate" that "Menasha Mac" had sailed for America. He was a full blood Durham with a long pedigree set forth in detail in the paper. He was bred in England of a stock then said to be the most popular breed of cattle as best milkers and heavy weight. From the "Menasha Advocate:" "Capt. L. B. MacKinnon, of the British navy, shipped the horse April, 1854 to Menasha from England, 'King Cymbry,' bred in 1847, a son of the celebrated racer 'Touchstone,' 16 hands high, a rich bay." ''If he survives the journey I trust he will be the progenitor of the finest and best breed of horses in America," writes the Captain.
The "London Mirror" called him an "entire horse," In a later edition the "Advocate" in May, 1854, says: "Captain MacKinnon's horse, 'King of Cymbry,' bred by Wynn and got by 'Touchstone' and showing a line of Derby, Great Doncaster, St. Leger and other great race winners extending back to 1780." The description of the family required half a column in the "Advocate" to transcribe. On July 3, 1854, the "Advocate" mentions: "Captain MacKinnon arrived in town with the stallion, bull and a variety of fowls, with which he hoped to improve the stock of this county."
Town of Neenah.
The town of Neenah lies in the corner against Lake Winnebago and the western sweep of the Fox river over the Winnebago rapids into Little Lake Butte des Morts, the several sections along the river being occupied by the city of Neenah, set off from the town. The original town comprised all of Vinland. Clayton and the town of Menasha, as well as the town of Neenah. It was covered with a forest of hardwood timber, bass-wood, hickory, oak, ash, elm and butternut. Most of this has been cleared away and the town covered with beautiful farms with large, handsome homes and outbuildings. There are several limestone quarries in the town in the Trenton measure, and artesian wells can be, had by boring 50 to 200 feet. A stream named the Big Slough crosses the town. Something of the history of the origin of the town and its land sales has been mentioned in other pages. The Indian title to the lands of the town was taken over by the Government at the treaty of Cedar Rapids in 1836, and after survey in 1839 were offered for sale October 2, 1843, at the United States land office, then in Green Bay, excepting the Reservation of Winnebago Rapids, formerly intended as a mission to the Menominee Indians. The offer of the lands for sale remained open until withdrawn, October 14, the sale having been allowed to proceed but twelve days when it was suspended as to these lands until January 12, 1846. The reservation comprised part of the present city of Neenah and described by Government survey all the lands now in the town and city south of the Fox river, two miles south to the south line of the B. F. Rogers place, east to Lake Winnebago and west to La Grange road in the city, and south of Lake Butte des Morts to Sherry street. Part of the reservation was sold to Harrison Reed, as described in the history of the city of Noenah. and December 28, 1846, the remainder of the lands included in the original reservation were offered for private entry.
The first settlers in the town were those who located at the site of the settlement of Winnebago Rapids; but Mr. George H. Mansur, who had been at work in the old Government mills at Winnebago Rapids for Harvey Jones, located in June, 1844, with his family on his lands on the Lake Shore road and became the pioneer of the town. Two years later farms were entered by G. P. Vining on the Ridge road, George Harlow, Ira Baird, Stephen Hartwell and Salem T. Holbrook near by. The town was thereafter settled rapidly. A store was opened on the Ridge road in 1847, but after one year was given up and a school opened in the building with Miss Caroline Boynton as teacher. She became the wife of Deacon Samuel Mitchell, a pioneer of Neenah in 1846. His farm adjoined the city on the Lake Shore road. He died over twenty years past, and Mrs. Mitchell lived here until her death this last winter, the farm in recent years being occupied as a fruit farm by her son-in-law, Mr. Joseph Reek. The post office for the town was at the village of Neenah. and now the town has the rural mail delivery. The post office at Snells was established in 1876. The Northwestern railroad crosses the town with stations at Snells and Neenah. The Wisconsin Central railway parallels the same line through the town with stations at Siiells and Neenah. The Interurban from Neenah to Oshkosh crosses the town with stops at all places.
The original town meetings for the organization of the town is involved in the history of the city of Neenah and is there described in full. The original town records are in the office of the city clerk of Menasha. The late Hon. H. E. Huxley, whose beautiful place adjoins the city on the highway to Oak Hill Cemetery, was for many years chairman of the town. Mr. F. Gillingham has a large farm in the town. The farms of the late D. Blakely. Gilbert C. Jones and A. W. Collins are under high state of cultivation. Mr. Anthony Miller operates the Snells Station cheese factory, and Mr. H. J. Frank conducts an extensive creamery in the city of Neenah. The sales of lands show the average value of $80 per acre.
The population of the town is 617, of whom 45 were born in Denmark, 73 Germany and 394 in this state. There are 7,972 acres, nearly all improved, valued at $552.000. There is produced 39,000 bushels oats, 3,000 barley, 8,000 corn, 5,000 potatoes and 4,000 pounds of honey, and there are 331 horses, 1.200 cattle on the farms and 880 milch cows, with 4,000 fowls.
On the old C. H. Manser farm, on the shore of Mansers Bay, Lake Winnebago, in the northeast quarter of section 9, there are indications of a rather extensive aboriginal burying place. The graves are scattered over an area of ten acres along the shore of the lake. In excavating at this point in October 1898, Mr. Harold K. Lawson and others succeeded in uncovering eleven skeletons, an entire pottery vessel and fragments of several others, some carved clam shells, bone awls and a number of flint arrow points. The perfect vessel and the half of another were described and figured by the author in the July. 1902. issue of the "Wisconsin Archeologist." The former is well fashioned of a dark colored clay, shell tempered and decorated about the shoulder and neck with a pattern consisting of incised lines and indentations. The dimensions of this vessel are: Height, 4-/j inches; diameter at the top, 4 inches; at the shoulder. 6 inches; thickness. 3-16 of an inch. The fragmentary vessel is of similar material and is ornamented about the neck with a single row of indentations. Its original dimensions I estimate to have been as follows: Height. 9 inches; diameter at the top, 8 inches; at the shoulder, 10 inches. These vessels are the present property of Messrs. Harold K. and Percy V. Lawson, of Menasha.
Town of Nekimi.
The town of Nekimi presents a beautiful panorama of wide, well cultivated farms, fine dwellings and ample barns, showing evidence of thrift and prosperity. The land is rich glacial loam, rolling and well drained in the creeks leading to Lake Winnebago. Formerly a portion of the land was natural prairie surrounded with hardwood timber lands and openings. The town contains a total of 19,484 acres, of which 15,800 acres are improved, and valued at $1,400,000. The population is 906, of whom 685 were born in the state, 150 in Germany. 34 in Wales and 9 in Ireland. The thrift of the people of the town is shown in the annual products of 4,500 bushels wheat, 98,000 oats, 82,000 barley, 32,000 corn, 12,000 potatoes and 5.400 apples, while they possess 784 horses, 2,800 cattle, 3,300 hogs, and from 1,200 sheep had 4,600 pounds of wool, 1,600 milk cows, 59,000 pounds of butter, and 8,000 fowls and 43,000 dozen eggs. The sales of real estate show the average value per acre of $93.
Nottlemau Brothers operate a creamery, Mr. J. W. H. Jones a cheese factory and Mr. Richard Foulkes a cheese factory. There is a post office at Nekimi. The first settler in the town was Mr. William Oreeman, who came in the summer of 1846. followed by Mr. David Chamberlain, A. M. Howard and Robert W. Holmes in the fall of the year. William Cassett and Chauncey Foster built a blacksmith shop on Crossett's claim, since owned by Milan Ford. These settlers built a log school house the same summer near the Boyde school house. The school was taught by Miss Eliza Case. Mr. William Simmons moved into the town in 1847, and Mr. Hiram B. Cook came the same year. Hon. Milan Ford came with his father, Chester Ford, to this county as among the first five families to settle in the county in the fall of 1837, locating near Wright's (then Ford's) point, in Black Wolf, and finally he located in this town.
The Welsh settlement, so called, was begun in 1847. The settlement lies through the towns of Nekimi and Utica, extending into Rosendale in Fond du Lac county. The first party was made up in Waukesha in July 1847, consisting of Abel Williams, Owen Hughes, Robert Roberts, David E. Evans, James Lewis, Peter Jones and John Williams, afterward of Neenah. They selected the region of Nekimi for its rich promise of fertile lands. As soon as their claims were selected they walked to the land office at Green Bay to enter them and secure titles. Returning they proceeded to erect log cabin homes. During the next few years they were joined by a large colony of their countrymen and the region became known as the Welsh settlement. Mr. William Powell with his family came direct from South Wales and located on section 10 in 1848. Mrs. Powell died in 1851 and Mr. Powell in 1874. William, David and Jeannette, left on the old farm, are now all dead.
Rev. John Evans delivered the first sermon in the summer of 1849 at the house of Peter Jones. This year they built their first church. Rev. Thomas Foulkes was the first pastor. In 1855 another church was erected by a division of the first congregation. A Congregational Church was organized in 1851 by Rev. Jenkin Jenkins. A Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 184(?)5 and a church erected in 1862. The Baptist Church was organized in 1848 by Rev. Evan S. Thomas. There are now five churches and seven school houses in the town. The first town meeting was held at the home of William Powell in 1850, at which Milan Ford was elected chairman.
Town of Nepeuskun.
The town of Nepeuskun is nearly a full township of six miles long and wide. The surface is rolling. Rush lake, in the eastern part is about four miles long and two miles broad. The soil is generally a rich clay loam, producing good crops. In the settler days there was sugar maple, burr, white and black oak standing in the western part in "openings." Limestone is the rock beneath the soil with an occasional ridge of sandstone. The only stream, Waukau river, the outlet of Rush lake, which runs through Waukau, where it develops a water power and empties into the Fox river. Years ago when the settler arrived there were several creeks, but clearing the lands has dried them. Rush lake seems to be supplied mostly by springs. Rush lake was surrounded by numerous Indian mounds, many of which have disappeared on the advance of cultivation.
There are 19,865 acres in the town, of which 12,476 are improved and valued at $70 per acre. The total value of the land and improvements is $1,100,000. The population is 888, of which 779 are native born and born in Wisconsin. Of the foreign born 112 are native to Germany. The industry of the people and the production of the lands is shown in the produce and stock marketed. They raise 59.000 bushels of corn, 4,000 wheat, 103,000 oats, 37,000 barley, 43,000 potatoes, 5,700 apples, 400 tons hay; and possess 685 horses, 2,569 cattle, 754 hogs, 11,000 sheep and 1,664 cows. There are three creameries which produce $186,000 worth of butter.
The first settlement in the town was made by Mr. Jonathan Foote, his wife and daughter, and a nephew. W. H. Foote, who located their home on section 11 in March, 1846. near a fine grove of sugar maples and a number of springs. The family lived in their wagons several weeks until their frame house was completed. It was only thirteen by sixteen feet in size: but in it they frequently entertained strangers who passed that way. In May Mr. Lucius B. Townsend, his family and brother took up lands in the town. The day following their arrival they unloaded a plow and turned the first furrow in the town. They set up two stakes in the ground, joined by a pole overhead, against which they leaned boards, making a tent camp into which they moved and lived all summer, breaking up sixty acres of prairie sod in the season. Before the close of the year their number was increased by the arrival of more than twenty pioneers. Among these were Aashel B. and James H. Foster, Samuel Dough, Sidney Vankirk, John Vankirk, John Nash, Dan Burmine, T. F. Lathrop, George Walbridge, W. L. Dickerson, Lyman B. Johnson, H. F. Grant, Solomon Andrews, H. Stratton and Alonzo J. Lewis.
The log school was erected in 1847 on section 8, and Aashel B. Foster installed as teacher. Religious services were first held by Rev. Hiram McKee on September 26, 1846. in the home of George Walbridge. Afterward religious services were held in the school house by Elder Manning, a Baptist minister. A post-office was located at Rush Lake named Nepeuskun in September. 1849, with James J. Catlin postmaster. It was moved to Rush Lake Junction on the coming of the railroad. A post office was established in 1850 named Koro, and James H. Foster appointed postmaster. Mr. J. Hasbrouck, of Oshkosh, carried the mail between Oshkosh and Berlin. The town was set off by the county board November 17, 1849, and given the name Nepeuskun, from the post office in the town of that name.
The Milwaukee and Horicon railroad was completed through the town to Berlin in 1857, locating a station, now known as Rush Lake Junction. This is the oldest railroad in the county. Three years later the road was completed to Winneconne via Waukau and Omro. These roads are now owned bv the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company. A small village has developed at Rush Lake with sixty inhabitants. It has a blacksmith shop, a produce company and a general store.
The town contains six school buildings and three churches. The government rural mail delivery brings the mail directly to the door of the farmer. The county traveling library has a station at Rush lake.
Miss Orlena Foote, daughter of Mr. E. P. Foote, who afterward became the wife of Mr. John Edward .Sheldon, made a journey to Neenah from her home in Nepeuskun with her brother, W. H. Foote, in 1847, when there were no roads in the county. They crossed the river on the ferry at Oshkosh, stopped at the tavern of M. Griffin, then newly opened, and continued their journey north to Neenah, where they visited a friend in the wool carding mill of Daniel Priest. This carding mill was then the only machinery on the water power at Neenah except the old mission flour and sawmills.
Sidney Vankirk settled in the town in 1846. Having been in the Menomonec river region, he, with a companion, made a canoe journey to Green Bay and thence over the Indian trail to Chicago. The next year he made a claim to land near Burlington, where he settled and married. Here he constructed a wagon, the wheels being sawed off from the ends of logs. Into this ox cart the household effects were loaded, and with his wife they commenced the journey north, finally landing on their lands selected in this town.
Hon. James H. Foster moved into the town in 1846 and resided there until five years before his death, when he moved to Berlin, six miles away, where he died August 11, 1907, in his eightieth year. Mr. Foster came from Massachusetts. For many years he was one of the foremost citizens of the county, an excellent speaker, and had a rare faculty of making and holding friends. Almost as soon as Mr. Foster was eligible for the position he was honored by election to the position of superintendent of public schools, an office which he filled most creditably for a number of years. From this he was advanced to the position of county register of deeds, then to state assemblyman, where he served two terms, and in 1870 he was chosen as state senator in an election which was one of the hottest ever known in this county. He also had the distinction of being one of the ten presidential electors from this state who helped to nominate President Hayes in 1876, and for nearly sixteen years he served as deputy state railroad commissioner, embodying into concise form and finished shape the elaborate statements and reports of that department in a manner that has always stood as a model for similar work.
Mr. Samuel P. Button, a native of Vermont, arrived at Strong-s Landing, now Berlin, in 1847. He became aware of the want of shingles for dwellings and embarked in the business in a primitive way. Going up the Wolf river, he had pine trees out into 36-inch logs and loaded them on to a flat scow, which was poled down the Wolf river over Lakes Poygan and Winneconne and up the Fox river, and eventually split and shaved into shakes, as these rived shingles were called. He purchased a farm in Nepeuskun of 160 acres and made a contract to furnish 100,000 rived shingle for $100. Mr. T. J. Lathrop emigrated from Vermont in 1846. The energies of the pioneer were mostly devoted to wheat raising, which was carted ninety miles to Milwaukee for sale. Mr. Lathrop preferred to sell his on the place at 3 shillings a bushel and save the expensive journey. Mr. H. T. Grant came from Connecticut in 1846, built a log shanty and broke up nine acres of sod the same year, raising twenty-six bushels to the acre. He recollects drawing pork to Milwaukee and selling it at $1.50 a hundred pounds weight, and wheat taken to Milwaukee brought 50 cents a bushel. The journey there and return required six to ten days, and thirty bushels of wheat was an average load.
Edward Baker and five sons came from England and commenced the manufacture of pocket cutlery on the Shore of Rush Lake in 1850. The father and Henry made the handles, James forged the blades and backs and Edward ground and polished them. The machinery was run by horse power. The best quality of goods was made and the neighboring merchants were good patrons, but the enterprise was abandoned. Mr. A. Y. Troxell, a native of Pennsylvania, came to the town in 1847. By his remembrance they gathered 500 bushels of corn in the ear from five acres which was broken the year before, and the year 1848 they harvested forty bushels of spring wheat to the acre. Their grain was threshed with a flail or treading it out with horses. The nearest mill was at Ceresco, owned by the Fourierites community, but was for their exclusive use and they refused to grind for the settlers, who were compelled to take their grain to Watertown. An indignation meeting was held and a conference arranged at which the Ceresco people consented to set apart two days each week to grind for the settlers. The great rush to the mills on these days occasioned strife to be first there. A farmer, finding his neighbor there in advance, expressed surprise, asking, ''How did you get here so soon? I started as soon as I could see." "Oh, I started last night," was the reply.
Rev. J. W. Fridd, of English descent, settled in the town in 1848. For fifty years he preached the gospel, having been ordained an elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1846 in New York state. His son, John A. Fridd, born in this town October 29, 1850, has been for many years a leading citizen, elected for several years chairman and a member of the assembly from the district, and now the state senator from the county.
Mr. Jerome Betry was one of the forty-sixers, coming from New York State. He started on foot from Milwaukee to his claim in the present town. Coming up with a sick teamster moving a load of goods to Fond du Lac, he was given a ride to drive and care for the team. He found Fond du Lac a small hamlet with one small tavern, three little stores and several dwellings. He took the trail for Ceresco, where he found a lady about to drive past his brother's shanty and she was pleased to have him drive for her. He drove the team as far as the shanty, where he alighted. He found the wilderness cabin a small log shanty with a bark roof. No one was at home when he saw the interior through the window. The furniture consisted of a rough board table and a bunk. Hearing the sound of axes, he discovered his brother in the forest splitting rails. At the shanty they had a meal of potatoes and cold-water shortcake. The settler depended on his gun for fresh meat. One day a flock of prairie chickens alighted near the corncrib and, removing a block from between the logs, Mr. Betry shot a number of the birds before their mates became frightened and flew away. Mr. Betry bought a tract of land, and once having occasion to borrow some money to pay for another piece, he obtained the loan at 25 per cent interest. The first grain his brother raised harvested forty-three bushels to the acre. This was taken to Watertown to mill, requiring a week for the trip.
In the monograph on the "Archeology of Winnebago County," written by Publiua V. Lawson and published in the "Wisconsin Archeologist" for January, 1903, there is an extended description of the ancient mound remains of the vanished races, from which some extracts are copied herein.
The following extract from a letter directed by the late Hon. James G. Pickett to Mr. Charles E. Brown, dated April 17, 1903, will assist the reader to a proper understanding of the antiquities listed under this town. He says: "Agreeable to my promise, I have revisited all of the village sites, mounds and other evidences located on the east side of Rush lake, in the town of Nepeuskun.
"I had been over them all many times during the years following 1846. The mounds were then quite prominent and remained so for seven or eight years later, when those who had entered the land began its clearing and cultivation. At the present time they are nearly obliterated and their exact locations can only be learned through the assistance of the old residents. Probably no section of the state was in prehistoric time more densely populated than the eastern border of Rush lake in fact, this entire shore line appears to have been one continuous village site, as evidenced by the numerous mounds and earthworks and the hundreds of human remains exhumed from them or turned up in the fields by the plow. Nowhere in the state has a greater harvest of aboriginal implements of stone and copper been obtained, and certainly no site could have been better chosen for the location of an aboriginal village. The locality known as Dutchman's island, bounded on the west by the lake and on its other sides by great peat marshes, was then a veritable island, containing about three sections of firm ground. The lake had its outlet at its southern extremity, connecting with Green Lake and the Fox river instead of at its northeastern side, as now. The waters of the lake were from 4 to 6 feet higher than at present, thus covering the great marshes and making it fully three times its present size. The evidence of this change is shown by the miles of ridges surrounding the marshes, composed of gravel, boulders, shells and the debris thrown up by the action of the ice. The island was only approached by boat and could be easily defended. Wild rice, fish and waterfowl were very abundant. These natural advantages combined to make the locality an ideal dwelling place."
In a communication dated April 11, 1903, and directed to Hon. James G. Pickett, Mr. W. H. Foote, a pioneer resident of the town of Nepeuskun, gives the following information in regard to an enclosure formerly located on the property of his father, Mr. E. P. Foote, located at the head of Rush lake in the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section H. "The sides of the square were about four rods long, three to four feet high and three to four feet broad. They had probably once been somewhat higher. At the openings at each corner within the square were round mounds of earth. When we first broke up the land for cultivation, we went around it, but it has since been obliterated by successive plowings." This property is now owned by Mr. Will Hall.
The Hall mounds were located on the north Shore of Rush Lake on the farm of Mr. Will Hall, on fractional section 14. The first of these tumuli stands at a distance of about 200 feet north of the lake shore on land elevated about 50 feet above the water. It was constructed of rich loam similar to the surrounding soil and was 30 feet in diameter and 6 feet in height. This mound was excavated by Mr. Charles Stever, of Waukau, and the following description is drawn from notes kindly furnished by him. Below the base of the mound on a hard earthen floor and lying in a general north and south direction, the head toward the north, the bones of a human skeleton were unearthed. Near the left hip bone a catlinite platform pipe was found. The bones were in a poor state of preservation and fell to pieces when their removal was attempted. Fragments of broken pottery were found throughout the mound. At a distance of 200 feet west of this mound there was a second of the same material. When excavated by Mr. Stever this mound was found to contain at its base a single interment, the grave being walled in on either side by a double row of round and flat boulders probably gathered from the neighboring fields. The grave lay north and south and the stone walls were 2 feet apart, 20 inches in height and 6 feet in length. There was no head or top or bottom stone. Besides the very much decomposed bones of the leg, arm, ribs and a portion of the skull there were taken from this grave a number of animal bones, a turtle shell, clam shells, pottery fragments and flint chips. Distributed through the base of the mound was a large quantity of charcoal, some of the pieces being of unusually large size. Both of these mounds are about 3 feet in height at the present time. They have been under cultivation for fifty years. Mr. "Will Hall has carted a number of wagon loads of black earth from them. About 20 feet to the west of this mound Mr. Stever located a number of Indian graves, from which he took six human crania, which he afterwards reinterred in the same place. The bones were well preserved, indicating that they were of more recent origin than the mound burials. Mr. W. H. Foote in a letter to Mr. Pickett corroborates the statements made by Mr. Stever, but adds that there were originally three mounds in the group.
Up to as late as the year 1846 there was, according to Hon. James G. Pickett, a Winnebago village numbering from one to 200 Indians, located about the present outlet of Rush lake near the center of section 13 of this town. The cemetery belonging thereto was located on the farm of Mr. David Llewellyn on the south side of the present highway and about forty rods east of the outlet bridge. In a communication directed to the author, and dated November 30, 1902, Mr. Pickett gives the following interesting description of the burial customs practiced here, as observed by himself: "With the Winnebago Indians there were two styles of burial, temporary and permanent. A person dying in the winter time, when the earth was frozen solid, was wrapped in his blanket and usually enclosed in a roll of bark, or the body was deposited in the smallest canoe at hand and elevated into the branches of a tree. Sometimes a staging was built between two trees and firmly secured, -and the remains placed upon it. They were left in this position until the frost was out of the ground in the spring, when the permanent grave burial occurred. Not having proper digging implements a shallow grave, seldom more than two feet in depth and slightly rounded over with earth, was prepared and the body placed therein. A small forked post about three feet in height was set in the ground at each end of the grave. These posts supported a ridge pole, against which, one end resting on the ground, were placed split shakes or puncheons, thus forming an "A"-shaped enclosure over the grave and protecting it from disturbance by wild animals. To mark the grave of an adult male a peeled post about 8 feet high and painted in two colors was set in the ground at its head. If the deceased was a man of note his white dog (if he owned one, if not, one was found), was killed and hung by the neck to the post. Such graves were very common at the different villages of the Winnebagos at the time of the settlement of the county by the whites. When I first visited the village site above described in the early summer of 1846, I think that there were to be seen at that place as many as fifty graves with their roof coverings in various stages of dilapidation and decay, as well as several recently made and with the dogs suspended from the painted posts at their head. I believe that it was during the winter of 1847 that I saw the last elevated temporary burial at this place. In exhuming these graves the only articles which have been brought to light were a few glass beads, a childish trinket, a rusty knife or some similar object. I have, however, been informed by the Indians that when a great man dies, a noted chief, or one who has in Indian ways distinguished himself, his most valuable belongings were buried with him. If he owned horses, the most valuable one was killed on the day of his master's death, but not buried with him. His gun was usually interred with the body, so that with his horse, dog and gun he was fully equipped for business in the new field to which he was going."
Mr. Pickett states that in the year 1846 this peninsula, located in the northwest quarter of section 24, was covered with a heavy growth of hard maple. It was undoubtedly a favorite camping ground of the Indians, as a large amount of pottery fragments are still scattered over the new cultivated land.
Upon a sharp wedge of land locally known as Eagle Point, in the northeast quarter of section 26, where the north and south boundary line of sections 25 and 26 touches the shore of Rush lake, there were formerly located, according to Mr. Reagan, an old resident of the neighborhood, one or two small round mounds and a number of Indian graves.
Upon the property of Mr. F. Radke and about twenty rods east of the shore of Rush lake (N. W. 1/4 sec- 25) there was formerly located a group of some seven or eight round mounds. Mr. Reagan, who. piloted Mr. Pickett over the property, stated that when he first noted them in about the year 1857, before the land was cultivated, they were from 18 to 20 feet in diameter and not more than three feet in height. Although nearly obliterated indications of five of these mounds are still to be seen. A paper treating of this group was read before the Lapham Archeological Society of Milwaukee, in 1878, by Mr. Thomas Armstrong of Ripon. Extracts of this article were afterwards published by the same gentleman in the United States Smithsonian Report of the year 1879. "These mounds," says he, "are situated on the southern shore of Rush lake, on land belonging to Mr. (J.) Gleason in the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 27, and the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 26, and were visited by a party of students from Ripon College, May 12, 1877. The mounds, sixteen in number, are ranged in an irregular line running essentially east and west, about twenty rods from the shore of the lake, which is here high and steep, though all the adjacent shores are low and marshy. The mounds are in what is now a wheat field, formerly covered with timber, an oak tree, some sixty years old, having been cut from the summit of one of them. All of these mounds are circular in form, varying from 15 to 30 feet in diameter, and from 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 feet in height, though not much can be said with certainty about this latter dimension, the land having been cultivated for a number of years, and the mounds plowed down as much as possible every year. We selected the largest and most conspicuous mound we could find, the fourth or fifth from the eastern end of the line, and sank a trench into it. Each shovelful of soil thrown out was carefully examined, but was found to present no difference in appearance from that of the surrounding field, until we reached a depth of 18 inches, when a few pieces of coarse-grained charcoal were found. The earth now began to show the action of heat, it being harder and of a reddish hue, until at a depth of 2 feet and 6 inches layers of ashes mixed with earth began to present themselves. These appearances were the same all through the trench on the same level, being only seen near the ends of it as if separate fires had been built. These appearances continued until we reached the depth of 3 feet and 9 inches, the ashes meanwhile growing more plentiful, when we found the charred bones, evidently those of human beings, mixed with earth and ashes. A few inches more of calcined earth was passed and then we struck bones in earnest. Within the space of 3 feet square we uncovered seven skulls, mingled with the various long, short and flat bones of the human body. These, unlike those in the upper stratum, did not show the action of fire in the least, but were so badly decayed that we could get none of them out entire. The bones were not arranged in any order whatever; no single skeleton even could be traced through the mass. We did not uncover all of the bones within the mound, but finding that none of them could be taken out entire, contented ourselves with digging through the layer of bones and earth, which was 4 inches thick, to the hard subsoil underneath, which we found so compact that we concluded it had never been disturbed, and so did not go deeper. A careful search failed to bring to light any ornaments or implements of any kind. We now abandoned this mound and, selecting two nearer the eastern end of the line, which in size were most unlike the first and unlike each other. proceeded to sink trenches into them. In the larger of these at the depth of 4 feet, human bones were found, which were much better preserved than those in the first mound opened, though they showed the same lack of arrangement and dearth of ornaments and implements. Fewer ashes were found in this mound and no charcoal or burnt bone. In the third mound, at the depth of 2 1/2 feet, a skeleton was found, lying with its head toward the west. This was in so good a state of preservation that many of the more heavy and solid bones could be taken out; this skull, like all the others, could not be gotten out except in small pieces. This was the only mound of the three into which we dug, in which a skeleton could be traced, and even in this the bones were somewhat crowded together, the skeletons not lying extended at full length, and also somewhat mixed up with others, though I think fewer bones had been buried in this mound than in any of the others. I would mention that the second and third mounds were much smaller than the first. We were inclined to think that the dry bones were gathered together those in the larger mounds first and in the smaller ones afterward, and placed in loose piles on the ground and the earth heaped over them until the mounds were formed. It also seemed from the ashes and charred bones near the surface that the larger mounds had been used for sacrifices or feasts.
Professor (A. H.) Sabin, Mr. (Everett) Martin and I afterward made an investigation of another of these Gleason mounds. This one was situated near the center of the group; is 30 feet in diameter and Seven feet high. Like the others, it contained nothing but bones, was built of the same material and, had its full share of ashes and charcoal. But, unlike the others, an oval pit 18 inches deep, 8 feet long and five feet wide, its major axis lying in a general northwest and southeast direction. In this case some arrangement was apparent, the bones of the lower extremities being, as a rule, near the center of the pit, and those of the trunk and upper extremities ranged around the sides.
In a letter directed to Mr. Charles E. Brown, dated March 2, 1903, Mr. Jas. G. Pickett, who first visited these mounds in the fall of 1846, gives the following additional information in regard to them: "If I remember correctly, there were some twelve or fifteen mounds in the group located in a direct line nearly parallel to and about twenty rods distant from the lake shore. The land was then overgrown with white and burr oak timber. The mounds were elevated about 12 feet above the lake level, and were about 20 feet in diameter and from 4 to 6 feet high. In 1894, with the assistance of my hired man, I investigated one of the largest of these mounds. This is probably the one referred to by Mr. W. C. Mills in his communication in the Archeologist of February, 1895. I do not know from what paper his extract was taken. It is in some respects inaccurate. In excavating this mound we; found at a depth of about a foot below its base the skeletons ot seven persons, lying upon their faces with arms extended above the head, the bodies radiating from the center in a circle like the spokes of a wagon wheel. All of the bones were in a fair state of preservation. No implements other than a couple of arrow points were found. Evidently the burials were made at one time and the mound erected over them." Two of the crania secured were sent to Prof. F. "W. Putnam at the Peabody Institute at Cambridge, Mass., at his request. One of them was retained by Mr. Pickett. At the request of Mr. C. E. Brown. Mr. Pickett again visited this locality in April, 1903, and found that all but five of them had been entirely obliterated. He concluded that a village of considerable proportions must have been at one time located here and in the vicinity, since probably but few similar sections of land in the state have produced such a large number of stone and copper instruments. All of the mounds have been found to contain human remains. The mounds which were described by Mr. Thomas Armstrong, of Ripon, Wis., in an article entitled "Mounds in Winnebago County," appearing in the United States Smithsonian Report of 1879 (pp. 335-35) were located on the property of a Mr. M. Hintz in the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 34. The following are extracts from his description: "They are situated about ten rods from the shore of Rush lake, 60 feet back from the edge of a steep bank, which undoubtedly at one time formed the shore of the lake, but the waters have since receded, and is every year becoming more and more shallow, and giving place to marsh. These mounds were originally covered with a heavy growth of oaks, which have been cleared off within the last ten years, and the land cultivated. Some stumps of trees remained on them until last summer. The mounds are in a group, of which No. 1 is isolated, and Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are in line, the nearest about 100 feet from No. 1. Nos. 1 and 4 are about 15 feet in diameter, and 2 1/2 feet high; No. 2, 56 by 42 feet and 3 1/2 feet high; No. 3, 30 by 40 feet and 3 1/2, feet high; Nos. 2 and 3 are 75 feet apart. A quadrilateral ridge, indistinct in some places but quite prominent enough to be easily recognized, and having on its several small mounds at regular intervals, passes through Nos. 1 and 2. The mounds 2, 3 and 4 are the only ones which are distinct and striking. The shape of all was once circular, or nearly so. but it has long since been changed to oval by long cultivation. All except No. 2 are composed of the same sort of material as the ordinary surface soil of the surrounding fields, and these fields are undoubtedly the source whence it was derived. No ditches or hollows from which such a quantity of earth could have been taken are now to be seen in the vicinity, and it must therefore have been scraped uniformly from the surface. No. 2, however, is of a different material, having in its center a stone heap covered with the same sort of earth as the others. This is the largest mound on Rush lake and is peculiar in this regard, for in most other mounds not even a pebble could be found, and in none were there rocks of any size; but here was a conical pile of boulders such as the farmer today hauls off his fields, built in the exact center of the mound, and reaching to within a few inches of the surface. We explored the four mounds. In Nos. 1 and 4 we found nothing, but in 2 and 3 human remains were plentiful enough, and a quantity of these in a tolerably good state of preservation we were able to obtain. No. 2, as I have said, is a conical stone pile, built of boulders weighing from 5 to 100 pounds and perhaps fifty in number. Underneath this stone pile and somewhat mingled with its lower layer, was a large quantity of ashes and charcoal, and also human remains; most distinct among them was the skeleton of a full grown man of ordinary size, his thigh bone measuring 17 inches, lying in a doubled up position, with his head toward the west, and near it the remains of three or more other human beings. The bones were in a poor condition, but by care two skulls and several long bones were saved. These were all found at a depth of 3 feet and 6 inches." Mr. Armstrong also examined mound No. 3 and at a depth of 2 feet a few small and much broken pieces of pottery, made of a reddish clay mixed with fine particles of broken stone, a small flint chip, and a piece of red chalk or soft chalk like stone. At a depth of 3 feet were found a confused mass of human bones, of which a number in tolerably good condition, including several skulls, were saved. In no case did a skeleton seem to have been placed in the mound entire. The bones of twenty- five to thirty-five individuals had evidently been gathered in a heap on the original turf and the mound raised over them. It is evident that no pit had been dug to receive them. That these were not the remains of warriors slain in battle is evident from the number of bones of children found in the mounds. No other bones than those of human beings were found, nor did any of them bear marks of fire, though ashes and charcoal occurred in a layer about 6 inches above the remains. Mr. Armstrong was accompanied on this expedition by Prof. A. H. Sabin and Mr. Everett Martin, both of Ripon, Wis. Mr. James G. Pickett, who visited this locality in April, 1902, for the purpose of collecting additional data, states that these mounds are now entirely obliterated. According to his report Mr. Hintz corroborates the early description of Mr. Thomas Armstrong, of Ripon, and states that when his father purchased the land these mounds were from 2 to 6 feet in height. Human remains have been found in all of them, and many implements have been collected from the surrounding fields.
Town of Omro.
Town of Omro is one of the finest agricultural regions in the state. It lays high, with rolling rich soil. Originally it contained oak openings and hardwoods, now all cleared except a few wood lots. The Fox river runs through the town, bringing it into direct steamboat connections with the whole of this historic valley. The few gravel beds afford good roads material. There is a belt of artesian fountain or flowing wells strata through the town, reached by boring fifteen to thirty feet. Stephen Johnson in 1847 had excavated a well on section thirty-six, some thirty feet without getting water. During the night the water broke through, and in the morning the well was flowing over, and had flooded the garden all about the house. Mr. Nelson Olin, in January, 1848, was excavating a well on his place, when at thirty-three feet down the pick broke through the containing water wall, when the air and water burst through with great force, compelling a hasty retreat of operators. The water raised over the surface has been running ever since. Many other artesian wells have been sunk. The fountain belt is said to be about two miles wide.
The C., M. & St. P. Railway runs through the town with station at the village of Omro. The town contains eleven school houses and a number of churches. The post office is at the village of Omro, and there is rural mail delivery.
The town of Omro contains a population of 1,111, of whom 811 were born in this state, 101 in Germany, 15 in Canada and 17 in England. There is a total of 20.000 acres of land with 15.500 acres improved, valued at $1,265,000. The sales show the average value per acre of $90. The productions include 91,000 bushels oats, 3,000 barley, 33,000 corn, 14,000 potatoes, 7,000 apples, 8,000 pounds honey. There are 754 horses, 2,600 cattle and 3,400 hogs. The 1,800 milk cows produce 34,000 pounds of butter and 10,000 fowls lay 50,000 dozen eggs.
The town was settled at the site of the future village of Omro, some years before the real settlement of the town by the location of the trading posts of Mr. Charles Omro, Charles Carron, Jed Smalley and Captain William Powell, who at different times maintained trading posts at this point for traffic with the Menominee Indians and at a very early day the place was known as Smalley's Landing, or trading post. Mr. Edward West made the first permanent settlement in the town, by the purchase of 500 acres and erection of log cabins, in the spring of 1845, near section 23. Before he could move his family, he marked out and cut, where it was necessary, a wagon road from Rosendale in Fond du Lac county, to this land in Omro, then known as the town of Butte des Morts. His nearest neighbors was Oshkosh and Ceresco. He says: "There was an old block house a short distance above the site of the village of Omro, and a few families were trading with the Indians and farming a little on the site of Oshkosh. The balance of the surrounding country was uninhabited, except by Indians. Mr. Stanley offered to sell his claim for a small sum. Neither Oshkosh nor Omro were inviting places. Game was scarce because of the Indians. Wolves and prairie hens were abundant, as the Indians, because of superstitious belief, did not molest them. Prairie hens were so numerous I was obliged to shoot them to save my grain, and fed them to the hogs. Strangers calling were feasted on the birds." Mr. West was a pioneer in Wisconsin, arriving in 1836. The first year in Winnebago county he put in a large crop of fall wheat, which sold for $1 a bushel on the farm, to new settlers, as soon as threshed.
After seven years farming on this land, he leased it in 1852, and moved to Appleton, where he became a prominent citizen and constructed the West canal for power purposes. Other settlers came in at once any very soon they were thickly scattered throughout the town. At the town of Butte des Morts an election was held at the house of Edward West on April 6, 1847, and he was made chairman. There were seven votes in favor of the state constitution, and fourteen against it. Five votes to give colored persons the right to vote, and sixteen against it. Eleven votes cast against the sale of liquor, which was all the votes cast on the subject. After many changes of territory and name, the name was finally changed to Omro by the county board in 1852. Nelson Olin moved into the town in 1846, and Mr. Oilman Lowd came the same year. About the same time Mr. Myron Howe moved in and built a log shanty on his land. Mr. Milo C. Bushnell came from Vermont into the town in 1846, and the next year erected a log shanty in company with Mr. A. H. Pease. He was a prominent man in the county for many years, and a member of the assembly. Mr. Richard Reed settled in the town with his family in 1848, and Mr. Frank Pew in 1847.
The first school was established in 1848, in the house of Mr. Myron Howe, by Mrs. Abram Quick, the first teacher. The same year Mrs. George Beckwith taught school in her own house, and a private school was taught the same year by Hannah Olin in the Oilman Lowd neighborhood, in a school house built by subscription. Rev. Sampson held services in the grove near the West home in the summer of 1847. In the winter meetings were held in a shanty on section 27. In 1848 meetings were held in the house of Mr. Richard Reed.
The fur trader has been mentioned as stopping at various locations along the river, and this much of a letter from Mr. Hiram H. G. Bradt, of Eureka, will be of interest on the subject: "In 1885 I was in Green Bay, sick, and one day there came into my brother's office a lady patient, to whom I was introduced as a Miss Grignon, of Depere, and learning where I resided, she asked about the La Bordes, Le Fevres, Dousmans and Louis Beauprey. The latter, a brother-in-law of Luke La Borde, and stated that when she was a girl, he paddled her in a canoe to St. Paul to bring down furs gathered at the different stations on the rivers, and that she had in her possession a map upon which all the trading stations were marked. Well, in our town there was one situated between Delhi and Omro, which was still doing business when I reached town in 1849, though it was operated by "an alien crowd" of lawless creatures, the principal of whom was George Roberts, of Whitewater, Wis. His den, which was eliminated through prosecution by David Le Fevre, was on a piece of land owned by a Mr. Pesan, who lived in a log house near the river, which house was on the site of another, the ruins of which he found underground. Miss Grignon informed me that Robert Grignon, a pensioner of the Black Hawk war, and then living below Omro, above the mouth of the Wolf, likewise handled furs, though she did not speak of his having a station."
Village of Omro.
The main part of the village of Omro is located on the south side of the Fox river, connected by a swing bridge with the opposite bank. It is a handsome village, and noted for its thrift and general air of prosperity and neatness. It contains a population of 1,358, of whom 783 were born in this state, 23 in Canada, 34 in England, 23 in Germany, and 13 in Ireland. There are a large number of well stocked stores of the usual classes of merchandise carried for a lively country traffic, also livery stables and grain and produce warehouses. The First National Bank has a capital stock of $30,000. The place has the advantage of electric lights. The Union Felt Company manufacture felt goods, and there are wagon and blacksmith shops. Mr. C. H. Larabee conducts a large grocery store. The village has a two-story brick public hall for its fire engines, and meetings of the village board. The village library is located in the building, under the care of the village clerk.
The public schools, which have long been under the intelligent care of Mr. E. E. Sheldon, are the pride of the place. A recent article in the Oshkosh "Northwestern" has this to say of her schools: "Principal E. E. Sheldon has received the report of the inspection of the High School by the university inspector, and among other things the inspector reports that the committee recommends that the Omro High School be continued on the accredited list. The equipment of the library and the laboratory was reported good. The manual training building impressed the inspector most favorably in all respects. It was well arranged and well equipped. The organization, management and general condition of the schools were found to be very creditable indeed. Some time ago the state inspector reported as follows on the library of the High School: -The library is excellent. Probably there is no better school library in any town of the size of Omro in the state, and there are few better in any place, regardless of size. The library has been carefully card-catalogued by Miss Lucy Thatcher, of the English department, and is in constant use by the students. The teachers have made every effort to enlarge the library, as reference books right at hand are very valuable. The library has over 500 volumes of magazines, including complete sets of the World s Work, the Review of Reviews, McClure s and Scribner s, and nearly complete sets of The Forum, Harper-s, Century, St. Nicholas, Technical World and other standard magazines. Poole-s Index and the Reader-s Guide make easy reference to magazine articles. There are special libraries in the department of domestic science and in the department of manual training. The girls in the first year High School class in domestic science are preparing meals to which their parents are invited. The girls, in groups of four, serve dinner. They are required to prepare and serve a meal for ten people at an expense not to exceed $1.25. There are forty girls in the class, and each section strives to make the best record. The members of the second year German class recently finished reading a short play, and were then required by the teacher, Miss Abel, to translate the play into English, after which four members of the class presented it before the High School literary society."
The manual training school was the gift of Mr. H. W. Webster, a pioneer, and for many years one of the leading business men. His sawmill formerly cut 5,000,000 feet of lumber each season. Hon. Hiram Wheat Webster was a native of New York State, of New England parents, and a graduate of Troy Academy in Vermont. He entered his lands in the town of Omro in 1848, where he lived until he moved into the village and commenced the manufacture of lumber. Mr. Webster died May 14, 1884.
The earliest occupation of the site of the village of Omro was by Charles Omro, Charles Carron, Jed Smalley and Captain William Powell, all of whom at times before 1845 maintained temporary or jacknife trading posts at this point for traffic with the Menominee Indians. The site was occupied by them possibly as early as 1836. It was known in the early settlement day as Smalley's Landing, or trading post, Mr. Edward West had moved into the town of Omro in 1845; but the first to locate on the site of the future village was Mr. David Humes.
He embarked in a skiff on Fox River at Marquette, in the spring of 1848, and paddled down the willow lined river to the present site of Omro, where he landed and located for a residence a part of section sixteen. This place was afterward known as "Beckwith Town." Here he erected a log cabin. It was Mr. Hume's ambition to build up a thriving town. He settled here for this purpose, and laid plans to accomplish this end. He supposed if he could devise means to tow logs up the Fox river that the sawmills would be built and their operation attract people to the place for trade and commerce and a town would grow up about the mills. To accomplish this he devised the grouser boat. This was a great invention, which for many years afterward was successfully operated in handling the great fleets across Lakes Winneconne, Butte des Morts and Winnebago. It made the handling of the millions of feet of pine timber that was run down the Wolf river comparatively easy and safe over the wide expanse of inland seas, and much of the success of the great lumber industry of Fond du Lac, Menasha, Neenah and Oshkosh was and is due to the grouser tow boat, invented by Mr. David Hume, the first settler of Omro. The grouser boat consists now of a strong steam tow boat, just large enough to contain powerful boiler and engines. It has near its bow end, through a tight housing, a tall, powerful oak timber which is raised up or let down by a ratchet and pinion. When let down and forced into the bottom of the river, it acts as a grouser or powerful anchor, to hold the boat fast to the spot. A windlass on the stern of the boat run by steam then draws the fleet of logs up to the boat. The grouser is raised and the boat runs out, a distance ahead and downs grouser again, and the fleet of logs is windlassed up to the boat again. The boat alone could draw behind only a few thousand feet of logs; but by the grouser device the boat is able to draw over the water several million feet of logs in one fleet. Thus it will be understood that this invention was worth a great deal to the lumber interests, and has been in use ever since it was first devised, not only on the waters of the Fox and Wolf rivers, but in other parts of the world.
The first grouser towboat built was a cheap affair, and the logs were towed up by horses, four horses on a sweep, and was known as Hume's Horse boat. Mr. Aaron Humes, a son of the inventor, built the first steam winch grouser boat. It was named the "Swan." Mr. Humes operated it a short time, then sold it to parties in Neenah. As soon as it was demonstrated that the grouser boat was a success, Mr. Nelson Beckwith, son-in-law of David Humes, and Mr. W. C. Dean commenced the erection of a sawmill. Mr. Beckwith withdrew and built another mill in 1849. Among the newcomers of the period were Colonel Tuttle, Dr. McAllister, Andrew Wilson, L. O. E. Maning, A. Corfee, William Hammond. The original plat of the village was laid out in 1849, by Joel V. Taylor, Elisha Dean, and Nelson Beckwith. The river was crossed by a ferry boat; but in 1850 Colonel Tuttle built a float bridge over the river at the foot of Main street. The steamer Badger is said to have been the first boat to come up river. It appeared in 1850, bringing several people to join the settlement. The first store opened in the town was by Mr. N. Frank, and Mr. C. Bigelow, who put up a building at the end of the bridge for the purpose. Of the extent of business operations in town at that time, it is related that a load of wood was brought to town for sale. Late in the day, finding no purchaser, the farmer started for the river to throw it away, rather than draw it home; but some one came out and offered him a pint of whisky for the load, which he accepted. The first hotel was erected in 1850, on the site of the present Larrabee House. There was a sawmill erected on the north side of the river in 1851, by Hiram Johnson. It was burned in 1866; but restored at once, and operated for many years afterward. The schools were instituted in 1850-51. Mr. Henry Purdy was the teacher, and the building was located near the present High School building. The Methodist church was erected in 1855. the Baptist church in 1866 and the Catholic church the same year. Mr. Andrew Wilson erected his sawmill on the north side of the river in 1856. The same year the great event for the village was the erection of a flour mill, by Mr. McLaren. This was the means of drawing considerable trade to the town. The village charter was granted in 1857, and at the first village election Mr. W. P. McAllister was elected president. The project of a railroad was pushed, and during the summer of 1857 the town and village took stock to the extent of $90,000, which was pledged and paid, insuring the coming of the railroad essential to the improvement and advance of any village. The last rail was laid January 1, 1861. The villagers paid for the depot. The float bridge was purchased by the town of Omro for $800, the village agreeing to keep it in repair. It was now opened free to the public. Mr. George Challoner built a shingle mill in 1863. This was afterward used by Thompson & Unyward for a carriage factory. The "Omro Union," the first newspaper, was established in May, 1865. The machine shop of George Challoner was built in 1866. Mr. Challoner had invented a shingle mill which afterward became famous, and the leading machine in America for the manufacture of shingles. A number of years ago the shop which was built of stone, was moved on barges down river and set up in Oshkosh. The ten block shingle mills made by the Challoner Sons, became the leading mill used for the manufacture of shingles. A spoke factory was put up by Goodenough & Utter in 1866. Sheldon & Allen built a broom handle factory. Scott's shingle mill was built the same season..Hon. Hiram W. Webster built his fine sawmill in 1866.
The Omro Journal has been published by the veteran editor, Mr. Piatt M. Wright, since 1876. It was established in May, 1865 as the "Omro Union" by S. H. Cady, and in 1876, published as the "Journal" by Kaine & Wright. Mr. Wright has been sole proprietor since April 1, 1877. He was born in Wrightstown on the Fox river, Wisconsin, son of Hod S. Wright, who settled in Brown county in 18??, and gave his name to Wrightstown. Mr. C. H. Sloeum publishes the "Omro Herald." The hotels are the Larrabee House and Northwestern Hotel.
The Baptist Church was erected in 1866. The first pastor was Elder Theodore Pillsbury. The membership increased to 125. Elder O. W. Babcock, of Neenah. was in charge in 1881. The Methodist Episcopal church was erected in 185!). but not completed until 1866. The pastor in 1881 was Rev. Jesse Cole.
The Presbyterian Church was organized May 10, 1851, by Rev. L. Robbing. Their church, erected in 1867, cost $3,500, but has since been improved and enlarged. Rev. F. Z. Rossiter was pastor in 1881. The Episcopal mission was in charge of Rev. Charles T. Susan, rector, in 1881. The Catholic church, St. Joseph, was built in 1866. In 1881 it was in charge of Father Mazzcaud, as a mission attached to Hcrlin; but in 1896 it was in charge of Rev. M. Kelleher, as a mission of the Poygan church.
Hon. Milo C. Bushnell, so long a prominent citizen of the town and village of Omro, and so often representing them away from home that he becomes a part of their history. He came from Vermont, where he was born in 1824, to the town of Omro in 1846, among- the earliest pioneers of the town and county, and took up lands at $1.25 an acre, on which he erected a log house. In a few years he moved into the village, taking an active interest in civic and moral affairs. He was a member of the county board for fifteen years, treasurer of the township five years, and on the school board twenty-seven years. Several terms chairman of the township and supervisor for a good many years. He was elected to the Legislature in 1867, and re-elected. It can be honestly said of him that he was an esteemed citizen.
In the Civil War the village and town was well represented by stalwart sons. The companies mostly recruited from Omro were Company C of the Fourteenth; A, of the Forty-eighth, and F, of the Eighteenth regiment, as well as members of the The Cavalry. Company C was recruited in the fall of 1861, mustered into the United States service January 30, 1862. and left the state March 27. David Himuan was the first of the Omro contingent to be killed. William W.. Wilcox, commissioned October 8, 1861, was captain, and resigned March 16, 1862, giving place to Absolom S. Smith, commissioned March 17, 1862, Captain, and afterwards promoted to Colonel. Lieutenant Colin Miller died May 23, 1863, from a mortal wound received in the assault upon the works at Vicksburg the day before. Asel Childs took his place under commission December 9. 1864. The Fourteenth Regiment was divided in 1864, the non-veterans being transferred to the army under General Sherman, the veterans re-enlisted were assigned to the Seventeenth Army Corps before Vicksburg, and then on the Red river expedition. In the western campaign they marched on ten days- rations 324 miles in nineteen days, building two bridges and fording two rivers.
Company F, of the Eighteenth Regiment Infantry. Colonel James S. Alban, were mustered in January 20, 1862. at Camp Washburn, and departed from the state March 27, 1862. Captain Joseph H. Roberts, commissioned January 13, 1862. Lieutenant George Stokes was taken prisoner at the battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6, 1862, but was afterward promoted to Chaplain. William A. Pope, who took his place in April 1, 1864, was reported missing in action October 5, 1864. George A. Topliff was Second Lieutenant, succeeded by Francis M. Carter. July 4, 1862. This regiment participated in Sherman's movements for the relief of Chattanooga, and with the Army of the Cumberland helped make a thrilling page in the history of the civil war.
The Third Cavalry, partly recruited at Omro, and contained a large number of men from this place, was commanded by ex-Governor Colonel William A. Barstow. It was mustered into the service from November 3, to January 31, 1862, at Camp Barstow, and left the state March 25, 1862. In reading over a list of the commissioned officers of this regiment of cavalry, there appears the names of many men who have distinguished themselves in the civic and business life of the state. In Kansas, Colonel Barstow was appointed provost marshal general of Kansas, and the command was given over to Major Henning. They were in the campaign west of the Mississippi river, with the army, doing scout duty and engaging in many of the numerous battles, some of them with Quantrell's famous band of so-called guerillas, who gave no quarter, killing their prisoners. At one battle the guerillas captured the whole regimental band, who were non-combatants, and killed all of them, even burning their bodies, so the official report records. During the last of the war Company A of the Forty-eighth Regiment was recruited in Omro, composed almost entirely of men from Omro town and village.
Town of Oshkosh.
Town of Poygan.
In the town of Poygan the lands did not come into the market until 1852, and it was the last town to he taken over from Indian occupation and ownership. On the shore of Lake Poygan, which borders the whole north line of the town, the ancient tribe of Menominee Indians made their last home in the county. Their principal village under Grizzly Bear was located on section 16 in the town, and it was at this place where the annual payment was made to the tribe by the government, and the location became known as the Pay Grounds. These payments, under the treaty of Cedar Point, made by Governor Henry Dodge as commissioner, September 3, 1836, by which all the lands south of the Wolf and Fox rivers in the county passed to the United States, reserved to the Indians the lands north of these rivers and provided for certain payments annually to be made to the Menominee. Their head chief was Oshkosh. who was a strong-minded, bright old chief.
The annuities provided for in the treaty to be paid each summer in June or July, was under the treaty of Green Bay of 1832, $1,000 annually. Under the treaty of Cedar Point of 1836. the amount was increased to $23,750, annual cash payment ; but changed by the Senate on ratification to $20,000, to be paid annually for the term of twenty years. These annuities were given for a cession by the tribe to the United States of all their rights to 4,000,000 acres of land. "The United States further agreed to pay and deliver to the said Indians, each and every year during the said term of twenty years the following articles: $3.000 worth of provisions; 2,000 pounds of tobacco; 30 barrels salt; also $500 for the purchase of farming utensils, cattle or implements of husbandry, to be expended by the superintendent," also appoint and pay two blacksmiths and furnish the iron and steel for them, as mentioned in the history of Winneconne. It was also agreed to pay the just debts of the Indians amounting, if proven to be $99,710.50. The further sum of $80,000 was to be divided among the mixed bloods.
It was the distribution of the articles and payment of cash at the pay ground in the present town of Poygan, from the time of the making of this treaty in 1836, until the making of the treaty of 1848, giving up the lands north of the Fox and Wolf rivers in the county, a period of some twelve years, that drew to these annual payments an adventurous crowd of all classes of society then on the frontier. People came to these payments from all parts of the county, and along the river as far as Green Bay on the one side and Portage on the other. There were traders like Grignon, Porlier, Powell, Archibald Caldwell and Smith Moores from this county, and John Lawe and Daniel Whitney from Green Bay, who came for the collection of their just accounts for the credits of the Indians during the year. Then there was the pethller and vender of flash jewelry, beads and colored scarfs, who came to attract the Indian to their wares. Then the gambler, the sport and the hanger-on of the frontier came to play his game, and all of them came to get their share of the money of the Indian, and they all met with fair success. The agent of the United States was usually guarded by a company of soldiers, who made some show of protecting the Indian. Temporary eating houses and boarding places were improvised and the scene was one of thrilling, exciting life, the forest was alive with the hum of its activity. After the treaty of 1848, the Indians remained on the site of Poygan for a number of years, as they were not satisfied with the western lands provided, and became finally settled on the reservation at Keshena, where they remain. The land of the town is rich loam, and it is one of the finest farming sections in the county. There is no railroad communication in the town; but depots at Omro and Winneconne are close at hand.
The town was originally a forest of hardwood, which is cleared away now, excepting an occasional wood lot. The roads are good, and the town is under a high state of cultivation, with fine farm buildings. At present the town has a population of 686, of whom 477 were born in this state, 32 in Ireland, 79 in Germany, 22 in Canada, 22 in England, and 20 in Russia. There are 14,000 acres of land in the town, of which 10,000 acres are improved, and valued at $1.000.000. The annual crops raised are 2,200 bushels of wheat. 55.000 oats, 8,000 barley, 25,000 corn, 20,000 potatoes, 3,000 apples and 4,000 tons of hay. In stock the thrifty people possess 384 horses, 2,400 cattle, 3,400 hogs, 1,000 sheep, 1,200 milch cows, and 6,000 fowls. The sales of lands show the average cash value of $73 per acre.
The town has six school houses, a church and a town hall. The first pioneer was Mr. John Keefe, who still resides on his lands near Poygan post office. He made a cruise through the town in 1848, and staked out the site that he intended to enter as his future farm as soon as the lands were open to settlement. Having located in Waukau with his family, he remained there until the spring of 1849, when he moved into the town and set up a shanty on his claim, title to which he could not obtain until it was surveyed and -open to sale in 1852. His son Charles was the first child born in the town, in February, 1850. In the fall of 1849, Mr. Thomas Mettam moved in with his family, and found Mr. George Rawson and brother, Jerry Caulkins. and Thomas Robbins, who had all just moved into the town. Mr. Thomas Brogden and Henry Cole, with their families, Richard Barron. George Burlingame, Joseph Felton, Jonathan and David Maxou and Reed Case, all came very soon after. Philander Hall, James Heffron, James Barron, William Johnson, G. and S. Wiseman, H. Scofield, William Tritt, and E. B. Wood settled in 1850; and the following spring Mr. Micheal O-Reilly came. Later Mr. M. Killilea settled. His son is now a prominent attorney located in Milwaukee.
The pioneers had a difficult task to maintain peace with the Indians, who had made the treaty selling these lands, but were generally dissatisfied with the location west of the Mississippi river and refused to move out of the Poygan forests. The swift encroachment of the settler on these lands alarmed and provoked the Menominee and frequently they made a rush and drove the settler over the border, and tore out their improvements. The whites had no redress, as they were not permitted to occupy the land until 18?2, when it was open to purchase. John Keefe and his family were in good fellowship with the Indians, and were frequently warned that they were safe and would not be molested. They never were driven away, though Air. Keefe saw a good many rushes. After the lands were offered for sale at the United States land office, some speculators attempted to enter the lands already selected and occupied by the settler, and in some cases-they were successful, and then there was another settlement war, as no one would be permitted to use or occupy such lands except the one who had selected and moved in. There were frequent rushes by the whites to drive out those who had sought in this manner to jump claims of their neighbors. This would not be permitted, and for several years these affairs came up, until finally all titles were settled. The first town meeting was held in 1853. The first school house was a log building built in 1853, and Mrs. Julia Jordan was teacher. This was not the first school in the town, however, as the mission school taught the Indians there in 1844, under Miss Donsemond, from Green Bay. The post office at Poygan was first named Powaickam, and was established July 8, 1852, with William S. Webster as postmaster. The derivation of the name Poygan has been given in another place, and is derived from the name of an Indian chief. It will be noticed that Mr. James Heffron, Jr., is chairman now, but Mr. W. L. Tritt had been chairman so long that no one knew when he first was elected to the office; or else it was Mr. Thomas Mettam, or Mr. Michael O'Reilly.
The old mission churches of the Catholic church date back many years, and have been mentioned in another place in this work. These services were almost entirely for the Menominee Indian. The settlement was for a long time under itinerant visits from the priests located at Oshkosh; but in 1873, a church society, was organized and a church erected. From this time they had their own resident priest. Their first pastor was Rev. Arthur O'Connor. After him Rev. H. G. Anen. B. Beldi, P. M. Honeyman, Lorenz Spitzberger, Charles J. Gallagher and Rev. M. Kelleher officiated. The resident priest also attends missions at Omro and Winneconne. There are possibly more people of Irish descent in this town than any other in the county, unless it was the town of Menasha in its older days.
Town of Rushford.
The town of Rushford is generally level and the soil is a rich clay and sandy loam. The Fox river runs through the town, and is crossed by bridges at Eureka and old Delhi. The higher grounds were originally covered with "oak openings." North of the river there formerly existed a forest of maple, butternut, hickory, basswood and ash. Flowing wells arc easily obtained by drilling about fifteen feet deep along the shore of the river. Waukau creek runs through the south part of the town north into the Fox river.
The lands north of the river, as explained in other places in this work, remained Indian lands, and no one was permitted to settle on them until after 1848. The earliest settlements were therefore made on the south side of the river. Waukau. a hamlet in the southeast part of the town, is the site of the first settlement. It is a station on the C., M. & St. Paul Railway, and obtains a water power from the falls of the Waukau creek. The post office was established July 1, 1848, with William H. Elliott as postmaster. Mr. Lester Rounds opened a general store the same year, and Mr. W. L. F. Talbot engaged in the business of blacksmithing. The village plat of Waukau was laid out and recorded December 30, 1848, S. W. White and G. W. Woodnorth. proprietors. The grist mill of Mr. Parsons was commenced in 1849, and completed in 1850. The development of the village was gradual, and it became an important place. The water power supplied the power for two flour mills and one woolen mill. There were several stores and mechanics- shops. There was a good school established and two church buildings. It is a pretty village, with an air of thrift and care. At the present time Waukau is very much of a village, though it has no village charter, but politically its inhabitants are a part of the town of Rushford. The population is 292, and it contains one hotel, two large general stores and a coal and wood yard. Eureka, on the south bank of the Fox river, is a handsome hamlet. Mr. Lester Rounds moved his stock of goods from Waukau to the site of Eureka in 1850, where he was joined by Mr. AValton C. Dickerson, who moved over from Nepeuskun, and they became the first settlers and founders of the village of Eureka, a plot of which was recorded July 24, 1850, of which Rounds, Dickerson & Starr were proprietors. A ferry was established across the Fox river at this point, during the same season, and four years later a bridge constructed, when the place became an important village. The post office was authorized July 16, 1850, and Lester Rounds appointed postmaster. A steamboat landing and warehouse was built by Mr. Walton C. Diekerson for the accommodation of the daily line of steamboats on the river, running between Oshkosh and Berlin. The sawmills along the river at Eureka. Delhi. Omro and Berlin were supplied with pine logs from the Wolf river, which were towed up the Fox river at first by horsepower boats or tugs. Eureka now has a population of 246, and a stage line from Berlin, with its schools and churches. It is a station of the Free Traveling library of the county system. It contains the grocery and drug store of Mr. L. E. Chapelle, a hardware store, implement store and harness shop, two general stores and a meat shop, a wagon shop, canning factory, feed mill, and lumber yard. It is served by the rural postoffice service. It is the home of Dr. T. E. Loope, who has held a number of county offices and been active in advancing apple culture; and Hon. H. H. G. Bradt, secretary, treasurer and historian of the Third Wisconsin Battery association.
Mr. Lester Rounds had come from Ceresco, where he had been secretary of the community of Fourites under the name of the Wisconsin Phalanx of the Fourier association, of which Warren Chase was president. In the establishment of that settlement into a town he had been chairman of the town and as a member of the Fond du Lac county board elected chairman of that body. Afterwards settling in Waukau, town of Rushford, as stated, he became a prominent citizen of "the county, and the founder of Eureka, remaining at his post of village merchant for many years. His son is at present county treasurer.
Three miles down the river from Eureka is the site of ancient Delhi, which in the flush days of river navigation bid fair to be a metropolis; but the changing scenes and efforts of times and people have made it relapse into a beautiful rural farm community, and the dream of cities and commerce vanished forever. It was an early day French trading post, kept by Luke La Borde, the principal owner and occupant.
The first settlement in the town of Rushford was made at Waukau, March 7, 1846, by Mr. L. M. Parsons, who on that day erected the first house, a ten by twelve one-story shack, of which the main posts had been driven into the ground. Here he accommodated the traveler. He at once set about the erection of a small saw mill, which was put in operation the same year, the first saw mill on the river within the county, except the old mission mills at Neenah. The month of March also welcomed Mr. J. B. Hall as a pioneer, who was joined during the summer by his brother, Uriah Hall. Mr. R. Stone, Mr. John Johnson and family, and Mr. Pinrow located the same spring, and Mr. James Deyoe and family, with Mr. Joseph Mallory, arrived in October. They lived in a shanty for a few days while erecting a log house roofed with shakes. There was no floor during the winter, as lumber could not be had. The same fall Richard, Thomas and John Palfrey, with their parents, located in the town. Religious services were conducted as early as the fall of 1846 by Rev. Hiram McKee. As the nearest post office was Ceresco, about fourteen miles south, the settlers agreed to take turns in making a weekly visit to bring back the mail. The Waukau post office was opened July 1, 1848. During the summer of 1847, Elliott and White built the first store, and Mr. James Deyoe erected the first frame house. During this fall a log cabin was erected for a school house and Elder Manning was made the teacher.
The first claim on the north side of the river was made by Mr. O. E. Loper while it was still Indian lands and not open to legal settlement. After the Indian title was extinguished by the government at the treaty of Poygan, the lands were rapidly taken up and now they are cleared and improved. A small cranberry marsh was cultivated on the western margin of the town. Mr. Loper, who was first to settle north of the river, had been a member of the Fourier community at Ceresco. Mr. Chester Gilmore. who also settled north of the river in 1849, was a native of Vermont. Mr. J. R. Hall, one of the earliest pioneers, was a native of Vermont, settling in Waukau in the spring of 1846, two weeks after Mr. Parsons. On his arrival he was entertained for the night at the shanty described as erected by Mr. Parsons, the only house for several miles about, where he found a large number of strangers. In the absence of sufficient bed clothing two beds were pushed together and made to accommodate eight persons for the night with sufficient bed clothing. Mr. E. B. Thrall was a native of New York state. He immigrated to Utica from Pennsylvania, making the journey in a covered wagon in company with the family, consisting of the father, John Thrall, five brothers and three sisters. They arrived June 9, 1846, in Utica at Armine Pickett's, who had located a few weeks before, and taking the covers from the wagons, set them against the log house of Mr. Nash until they could erect their log cabin, which they proceeded to do, taking the logs from their claim. They built of the logs the hewed puncheons, or half logs, for floors, and split out oak shakes for shingles. Not having lumber for doors and windows, they lived in the house all summer without them. They then obtained some oak lumber at Dartf ord, twenty miles away. Having sold his farm, Mr. Thrall located in Rush- ford March 21, 1866.
Warren Leach settled in Waukau in 1849, and opened the first tavern. Alonzo Wood, often chairman of the town, located in Waukau in 1858, and with V. H. Wood and R. M. Lincoln became proprietors of the Empire flour mills, constructed in 1857 by Hoft D. R. Bean. Mr. Bean was a native of Vermont, and became interested in the water power at Waukau. In 1874 he erected the Waukau flour mills.
There were in 1849 two hundred and twenty-one scholars in the town, and in 1855 there were six hundred and twelve children of school age. In 1880 there were 790 children of school age with nine school houses, in which twelve teachers are employed.
The population is now 1,511, of which 1,325 are native born. The largest number of foreign born is one hundred German and twenty-three native of Ireland. The town contains 20.515 acres, of which 14,900 acres are improved, valued at $1,400,000. The lands sold show an average value of $73 per acre. There is harvested annually 1,740 bushels wheat. 82,000 oats, 20,700 barley, 50.000 corn, 56,000 potatoes, 11,000 apples, 7,000 tons of hay. The town contains 876 horses, 3,300 cattle, 3,000 hogs, 1,800 sheep, 18.000 fowl. There are 1,894 milk cows, that produced 328,000 pounds of butter annually.
In the story of the Winnebago tribe on another page is given the life of Yellow Thunder, the head chief of the tribe, who formerly had his village on the Fox river near the site of Eureka, at the Yellow Banks. He was visited here by Col. Charles Whittelsey in 1832, who passed along that Indian trail that followed the river.
In the "Wisconsin Archeologist" for 1903 the author described the mound builder remains of this town, which is in part repeated herewith. About the year 1836 and for some years later there was a Menominee Indian village of "Waukau" located on the north shore of the Fox river opposite the old village of Delhi. According to Hon. H. H. Bradt, of Eureka, this village was still in existence at this point when he settled in the town of Rushford in 1849. The chief at that time was called "Lapone," and was an excellent Indian. The village consisted of a dozen cabins and about thirty people. Traces of their cornhills and burying ground may still be seen.
There was a group of six mounds located in section 23, on an open prairie elevated about ten feet above the Fox River, near the village of Delhi. The first mound is about ninety rods south of the river. It was formerly six feet in height and seventy feet in diameter. In 1849, Mr. H. G. Elliott built his residence upon it, excavating into the mound for his cellar. It is said that no discoveries of any consequence were made during the digging. The site is now occupied by a barn. About 180 feet south of the last there is a second mound measuring three feet in height and forty-five feet in diameter. This mound has never been investigated. The third mound is about 420 feet south of the former. It was formerly sixty feet in diameter and six feet in height. Mr. Louis La Borde, a pioneer, built his house upon this mound. In digging his cellar he disinterred human and animal bones. At a distance of about 420 feet south of the third is a fourth mound, which was formerly used as a graveyard by the La Borde family. This mound is seventy-five feet in diameter and six feet in height. The fifth mound is about 4!i0 feet west of the last. It is eight feet in height and seventy-five feet in diameter. In 1846 this mound was employed by Mr. Luke La Borde as a root cellar. Mr. La Borde told my informant, Mr. H. H. G. Bradt, that near its bottom he found a bed of charcoal and "a large mass of copper." Mr. Bradt recollects meeting Governor J. D. Doty at the La Bordes in 1849. When told of this find the Governor remarked: "We are in a country with a great but I fear an unfathomable history." The last mound in the group is situated in a cultivated field at a distance of 750 feet southeast of the fourth mound. It is eighty-four feet in diameter and eight feet in height. All of these mounds are constructed of clay and mold of the same nature as the surrounding soil.
The author is indebted to Hon. H. H. G. Bradt. of Eureka, for information concerning a round mound which formerly stood on the edge of the public highway in that village and which has long since disappeared. Of its exact size or contents nothing can be learned. There was also an aboriginal burying ground near this village in former years. In a search for mounds made in November, 1902, Mr. Bradt, who is a careful observer, was unable to locate any other works than those here described from the town of Rushford.
In the civil war the Third Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery, was organized in Berlin, Green Lake county, only a few miles from the town of Rushford, and received recruits by enlistment from this town. It was mustered into service October 10, 1861. The guns of the battery consisted of two six-pounder smooth bore guns, two rifled six-pounders, and two twelve-pound howitzers, all bronze. On arrival in Kentucky these were exchanged for two bronze twelve-pounded howitzers and four ten-pounder rifled Parrot guns. At the battle of Chickamauga, September 20, 1863, they lost twenty-six men, thirty-three horses and five guns, the sixth being dragged away by the men. Brigadier General H. P. Van Cleve reported the battery, saying "the officers and privates of the battery have my warmest thanks for the pertinacity with which they stood by their guns when surrounded by the enemy. I am happy to inform them that their praises are on the tongues of all who witnessed their conduct." The original number in the battery was 170 men. The state has erected a beautiful monument to commemorate the position of the battery on that fatal field. Following are the names of members of the Third Wisconsin Light Artillery enlisting from Rushford, Winnebago county: Ordnance sergeant, William H. Williams; platoon sergeant, Arza J. Noble; corporal, Hiram H. G. Bradt; bugler, Cyrus Weber; cannoneers, William Allen, Isaac Delaney, Lewis D. Masseure, William A. McMahon, Richard N. Noble, Jeremiah Rode, Daniel Robin, John E. Tracey. Hon. Hiram H. G. Bradt, of Eureka, secretary, treasurer and historian of the Third or Badger Battery association, has published a small cloth-bound book, detailing in an interesting manner the history of the battery, and has furnished the above information. Mr. Bradt writes: "For a rural section I think we have an interesting history of the militant type alone. From the earliest settlement of our town military blood lias been much in evidence and is impressively apparent by the silent monitors of our cemeteries. The most numerous, of course, are of the Civil war patriots, of which there are over forty graves. We have seven certain of the war of 1812; some think more. Then, too, our Indian wars are represented, and the blood of Revolutionary sires and dames is flowing in the veins of numerous families like a joy forever."
"Rushford has four public cemeteries, located in Waukau, Eureka, Rushford Center and North Rushford at Delhi. There is a family cemetery on the La Borde estate, in which Luke La Borde is buried. He was not an enlisted man, but in connection with Governor Doty transported by Durham boats provisions for the troops at Fort AVinnebago during the Indian war. The goods were brought from Green Bay and Fort Howard. Mr. La Borde was a native of Green Bay. Governor Doty obtained the contract from officials at Fort Howard, and he and La Borde were partners in the venture. La Borde had married a very pretty and pleasing half-blood Menominee girl, and having a great influence among her kin, he had no difficulty in procuring all the help he desired to both "push and pull" the crafts. L. La Borde's brother-in-law, Louis Boprey, acted as a guide for our forces during the Black Hawk war, and though over seventy years of age, enlisted in the Thirty-sixth Wisconsin in the war of the Rebellion and was credited to Rushford, and have been trying to ascertain if he was buried in Rushford, but as he was one of the disciples of Catholicism I think his remains lie at Poygan.
La Borde's wife was half French. Boprey half French. The latter's wife was half English, and it seems to me as I would come in contact with the hordes of the Menominees that were ever a substantial contingent at the La Borde homested that the whole tribe was very much mixed.
All but one soldier who engaged in the Indian wars and who formerly lived here went out of our town to die either with relations or seeking border countries otherwheres. This was Edward Dunn, of the Seminole war, buried in Eureka cemetery.
Names of soldiers of the war of 1812 buried in the town of Rushford: Waukau cemetery Reuben Hurlbut, Vermont; Jacob Coffman, Pennsylvania. Eureka cemetery Capt. Reuben Rounds, Vermont; Otis Ingalls, New York; John Boutwell Smith, Massachusetts. Rushford Center cemetery Col. Edward Carpenter, New York; Capt. William King, New York; Henry Daggett. New York."
Soldiers' graves of the Civil war of 1861: Eureka cemetery. to July 2, 1908 Henry H. Cole, Oscar Lathrop, Ansel Goucher, Herman Worden, Peter Bennett, John A. Everhart, Nelson Tittemore, James M, Stanton, Charles K. Johnson, Israel Dairo, Ira Fishheek, Harvey Liddle, Buell Smith, David Allen, Ira D. Carpenter, Capt. O. Bailey, Orson W. Alderman, Albert Potter, Dr. Amos Lawrence, J. W. Vanderhoof, Milvern Estabrook. Alexander McGregor, George Gifford. Rushford Center cemetery Col. Edward Carpenter, New York; Capt. William King, New York; Henry Daggett, New York.i
Soldiers' graves of the Civil war of 1861 in the Waukau cemetery up to July 1, 1908: George S. Maxon, Co. C, 14th Wis. Inft.; G. W. Christopher Jones, Co. B, 3d Wis. Inft.; Henry Reed, Co. B, 21st Wis. Inft.; H. S. Henry and M. Cottrell, Co. D, 13th Wis. Inft.; Isaac Brown, Co. K, 98th New York Inft.; Edgar Whiting, Co. I, 11th Wis. Inft.; Lusias Hoxey, Co. D, 23d Wis. Inft.; Richard M. Young, Co. H, 20th Regt. Wis. Inft.; G. W. Silsbee, Co. A, 1st Wis. Cav.; Constant Wills, Co. K, 4th Wis. Inft.; Wilmer Tuttle, Co. I, 10th Wis. Inft.; Allan Packard, Co. B, 21st Wis. Inft.; Henry Coffman, Co. D, 18th Wis. Inft.; David Seymore, Co. B, 21st Wis. Inft. Graves of other wars are: William Barker, Mexican war; Reuben Hurlbut, war of 1812; Jacob Coffman, war of 1812.
Names of graves of Civil war soldiers in the Rushford Center cemetery July, 1908: John Baldry. Henry E. Hess, Steven Hess, Albortus Hoofman, Myron Henry, Mathias Haedt, Lorenzo Lapcr, Melvin Parcells, J. L. Read, Philo Sage, Israel Williams.
Names of Civil war soldiers' graves in North Rushford cemetery up to July 1, 1908: William Allen, Henry D. Bailey, Theodore Burdick, James Discon, Henry M. Douglas, Archie Worden.
Town of Utica.
The town of Utica is a most beautiful region of rich tillable lands, high and rolling. It was originally a rolling prairie, interspersed with oak openings on the divide between the prairie land south and wood lands of the north. Much new growth of forest timber and shade trees have appeared during settlement days. The soil is a deep rich loam, with a clay subsoil mixed with gravel. Below this the limestone at places comes close to the surface and crops out at a few places. There are occasional gravel beds, which furnish good roadmaking material. There is a small stream crossing the town, which on the old maps was known as "Eight-Mile creek," but since known as Fisk's creek. In many places cool springs are found, which supply the farmer and his stock.
The farms in this town are generally large and under a high state of cultivation, with handsome dwellings and grounds and large barns. It contains a population of 943 people, of whom 780 are native born, ninety-five native to Germany and thirty-seven to Wales. The Welsh settlement is in the southeastern part of the town and extends into Nekimi. They are regarded as thrifty and prosperous farmers.
The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway runs through the town and has stations at Picketts and Fisk's Corners. Shipments of farm products and stock are made from these stations.
Elo, formerly known as Utica Center, a post office hamlet, has a population of twenty-five, a general store, a school and church. Fisk is a post office hamlet and a station, on the railway from which is shipped the stock and farm produce of the rich farm lands surrounding. It contains a population of 180, and has a general store, blacksmith shop, an implement store, and grain elevator. Ring, a post office hamlet with seventeen people, has a general store.
Of the first settlement of the town the late Hon. James G. Pickett has left an interesting account. His father, Mr. Armine Pickett, came into the state in 1840, and his advent has been described by Judge Elisha W. Keyes in his reminiscence of Lake Mills, where he first settled on the opposite shore of the lake. The arrival was a "grand cavalcade passing along the road toward the mills and our log house, presenting quite a formidable appearance. There were a number of covered wagons, double teams, single wagons, mostly drawn by oxen; and a number of men, women and children, and between the wagons there were hogs, sheep and cattle. Mr. Pickett drove in a flock of sheep and some fine Berkshire hogs, and a number of cows. Mr. Pickett presented a striking appearance; he was modeled after Daniel Webster. Every one had the utmost confidence in him. His wife, Mrs. Armine Pickett, is entitled to the credit of inaugurating the first co-operative cheese manufactory in the territory and whole country at Lake Mills in 1841. The inspiration of the work was wholly her own, and she carried it out successfully, aided by her husband and son, James G. Pickett. Full mention of this has been made in the leading papers."
Mr. Armine Pickett visited Winnebago county with Mr. David H. Nash in August, 1845, accompanied by their wives. Taking with them the conveniences for camping, they left Lake Mills and arrived at Oshkosh, where they engaged Mr. Webster Stanley to pilot them across the country to Ceresco, now Ripon. "It would be difficult to imagine a more beautiful and picturesque country than that lying southwest of Oshkosh," says Mr. James G. Pickett. "Following the Indian trail leading to Fort Winne- bago, the party for eight miles passed through oak openings entirely destitute of underbrush and reminding them of the old orchards they had left at the east. Eight miles from Fox river they crossed the first stream of any note, shown on the map as Eight-Mile creek, but known after the settlement of the country as Fisk's creek. The stream divided the oak openings, and as beautiful a prairie country as ever was created; the most northern limit of the great prairies of the state. Four miles farther the party halted by a spring brook for dinner. They were charmed by their surroundings. There was not a sign to indicate that civilized man had ever traveled over this route, and the country was, in fact, just as it came from the hands of the Creator. They could not wish for anything nearer their ideal of a perfect country, and Mr. Nash decided to locate on the spring creek upon which they halted, which was in a strip of openings a mile wide, separating the two prairies. While dinner was being prepared Mr. Pickett went back half a mile and a few rods from the trail found another spring on the edge of the prairie, and there drove his stake for his future farm."
In March, 1846, Hon. Armine Piekett, Mr. Seth Heath, Mr. D. H. Nash and his son-in-law, Mr. Erwin Heath, arrived and commenced their improvements. At the rising of the Nash house, after the last log had been placed, Rev. H. McKee, who had arrived the day before, mounted the building and proposed that the town be named. The name adopted was Utica. Rev. Hiram McKee, whose name frequently appears in the life of several surrounding towns, was the first settled minister and a typical frontier evangelist and powerful speaker, being "known far and near as the sledgehammer preacher." During the infancy of the Free Soil party he was nominated for congress against Governor James D. Doty, but was beaten.
At about the same time that the Pickett party was locating, another settlement was being made in the northern part of the town by E. B. Fisk, who commenced the erection of a log house the same month. He was followed by Mr. George Ransom and family, who settled near. John Thrall also came the same season. Among others of the pioneers of those days may be named C. W. Thrall, L. Hawley, L. J. Miller. George Miller, Henry Styles, J. M. Little, Wm. Hunter, Philo Rogers, W. S. Catlin, James Adams, and Walter Houston, D. R. Lawrence, Wm. Porks, James R. Williams, Ira Walker, W. H. Clark, A. B. McFarland. J. H. Maxwell," Wm. Griffith, Jas. Robinson, A. Stone, and F. J. Bean.
The late T. J. Bowles settled in the town in 1849, and for nearly thirty years was continuously re-elected its chairman and with great honor and integrity represented it in the county board.
The first school in the town was opened the first year of settlement, 1846, by Mrs. Alfred Thrall, near Pickett-s. The first log school building was erected in 1848, near Fisk, and a school was taught by Miss Kimball. The Liberty Prairie Cemetery association was organized January 1, 1849. and a site donated by Hon. Armine Pickett. No spirituous liquors have ever been sold in the town and none of its citizens ever convicted of a capital crime. Eight-Mile creek, which runs through the town, takes its name from its length, contains numerous springs along its banks and it heads in a large spring. Near the line of Nekimi the creek is lost underground for a mile, when it reappears in a beautiful stream for three miles and again runs underground, until it appears near Rush lake, into which it flows. There are 20,000 acres in the town, of which 12,000 acres have been improved, and is valued at $1.200,000. The annual prodiicts are 3,500 bushels wheat, 134,000 oats, 72,000 barley, 33,000 corn, 8,000 potatoes, 2.000 apples and 4,000 tons hay. There is also raised 6.500 fowl, which produce 34,000 dozen eggs; and there are 700 horses, 2,500 cat- tie, 2,000 hogs. There are 3,000 sheep, which yield 34,000 pounds of wool. The 1,391 milch cows produce 48,000 pounds of butter.
Dr. Increase A. Lapham, in his "Antiquities of Wisconsin," says: "Near a small stream, called Eight-Mile creek, in the town of Utica, on the land of Mr. E. B. Fisk (northwest quarter of section fourteen, township seventeen, range fifteen) there is a mound called the Spread Eagle. It is of small dimensions, the whole length being only forty-six feet. There are two oblong embankments in the vicinity, and the house is built upon another called the Alligator, but its form could not be traced at the time of our visit in 185l."
One forty-acre piece of land belonging to Mr. J. L. Hunter, in the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section twenty consists of prairie land which slopes gently northward to the O. F. Miller farm across the highway. "In 1846," writes Mr. Pickett, "these lands were in a state of nature. Extending diagonally nearly across both of these forties for a distance of 120 rods in a southwesterly direction was a row of about thirty round mounds, each about twenty feet in diameter and two feet in height. Approaching this line of mounds at right angles from section twenty-one to the east was a long tapering mound. Its near extremity came to within 250 feet of the line of mounds and extended back in a northeasterly direction for a distance of 400 feet over Mr. L. S. Hunter and Mr. J. Roberts- land in section twenty-one, and was cut in twain by the highway between the farms. It was two feet in height and twelve feet in width at the extremity nearest the mounds and gradually decreased in width until it disappeared in the surrounding soil."
A mound is located in the southwest quarter of section twenty. Mr. Pickett reports that it is located near the apex of a hill about 100 f«et in elevation, the highest land in the vicinity and overlooking the country for miles in every direction. A road which ascends the hill winds past the mound. It is oval in shape, three feet in height, thirty feet in length and fifteen feet in width. It has not been investigated.
Mounds are located on E. Bean's property in the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section twenty-five, a few rods south of the road which crosses the land. There are two or three quite prominent mounds in this group located on land which has undergone but little cultivation. They were originally about six feet in height. When Mr. Pickett visited the locality about 1900 they were still about four feet in height.
The Thada mounds are located on a farm now occupied by Mr. John Thada in the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section nineteen, about one mile east of the shore of Rush lake. There are four or five round mounds in the group, each about ten or twelve feet in diameter and at the present time not more than one foot in elevation. They are situated on rather low but ordinarily dry ground, still covered with timber. They have not been disturbed.
Town of Vinland.
The town of Vinland is fairly high above Lake Winnebago, at the shore, and gradually rising toward the west to about 150 feet elevation, presenting to the view toward the east the entire town with its clean, cultivated farms, handsome homes and the wide lake beyond with a panoramic view of the Clifton range beyond. The west part of the town was originally prairie and oak openings, entirely free from waste lands. The soil is a rich deep black loam, with clay subsoil, on limestone which outcrops toward the west at places. The eastern part of the town was originally a forest of hardwood, oak, maple, ash, hickory, elm, butternut and basswood. These lauds are cleared now, except the wood lots, and contain a rich soil both for grain and vegetables.
The population of the town of Vinland is 1,007, of whom 804 are native born, 738 being born in Wisconsin. Among those of foreign birth there are 119 native to Germany, twenty-one to England, and the same number to Switzerland, while eighteen hail from Denmark. There are 18,400 acres of land in the town, of which K5.000 acres are improved and valued at one and a half million dollars. The average of land sales shows a value of $93 per acre. Of products there were raised in 1905, 2,000 bushels of wheat. 116,000 oats, 52,000 barley, 46,000 corn, 16,000 potatoes, 4,500 apples, and 5,000 tons of hay. Of stock there were in 1905, 700 horses, 2,500 cattle, 2,000 hogs, 300 sheep. From 1,913 milch cows are made 52,000 pounds of butter, and 7,500 fowl produce 47,000 dozen eggs.
There are more cheese factories and more cheese made in the town than in any other town in the county. The town contains ten cheese factories. These are the Vinland cheese factory at Allenville, Sam Boss factory at Clemansville, Schneider factory at Allenville. Germania cheese factory, the G. Hauter cheese factory, Allenville cheese factory at Allenville. Clemens Renter factory, Faber cheese factory, Adolph Grimm factory at Allenville, and Robic cheese factory. The post-offices are Allenville, named for M. T. Allen, a pioneer. It has a population of fifty and a general store. Clemansville, a post hamlet, named for Horace Clemans, a pioneer; has one cheese factory and is located just on the line of Oshkosh. Vinland is the name of a postoffice in the southern edge of the town.
The town contains the Free Will Baptist church on section eight, and another on section thirteen, and there is the Methodist Episcopal church at Clemansville. There are eight school houses and 400 children of school age. The interurban street car line runs down the side of the ridge road across the town from Neenah to Oshkosh. The Northwestern and Wisconsin Central both cross the town, with stations at Allenville and Snells. The town lies within a few miles of Oshkosh or Neenah, with splendid highways for travel in all directions.
The first settler in the town was H. P. Tuttle, who located in 1846, and soon after Horace Clemans located and founded Clemansville. He was made the first chairman of the town. The same year the colony was increased by the arrival of Jeremiah Vasburg, William W. Libbey, Charles Scott, Wakeman Partridge, William Swan, Silas M. Allen, Jacob and Walter H. Weed, William G. Gumaer, and Thomas Kuott. Among the additions for the following year were Luther and Henry Robinson, I. W. Mears of Mears' Corners, Seth Wyman, George Clark, Charles Libbey, William Merriman, Lorin B. Bemis, and A. T. Cronkhite. Mr. Cronkhite subsequently was a pioneer tavernkeeper at Winnebago Rapids (Neenah) in the Winnebago hotel until 1855, when he returned to Vinland.
The first school house was a frame building erected in 1847 on section nine, and Miss Lucy Alden was teacher. The school at Gillingham's Corner was erected in 1849, and Miss Elizabeth McLean taught the first school in the summer of 1849. Divine services were held by the celebrated missionary, Rev. O. P. Clinton, of Menasha. Mr. Watson Brown was elected the second chairman in the town.
The town was the scene of an exciting time when the little son of Alvin Partridge, living in the north part of the town, disappeared and was never found. It was afterward supposed that the child of Nahkom, a Menominee woman, was the lost Partridge boy, but the trial had to settle its nativity determined the child was not the lost white boy. Afterwards there were many exciting events surrounding this child, who was stolen and never returned to its Indian mother. Mr. D. C. Church became the owner of the Alvin Partridge farm, three miles west of Gillingham s Corner.
About one mile north of Allenville there were in an early day ancient garden beds. On Payne's Point there are several conical mounds and some cairns.
Town of Winchester.
The town of Winchester is rolling high, rich, tillable land, covered with wide, well cultivated farms. A village of 100 has gathered about the postofficc at Winchester, where there are two general stores, a blacksmith shop and hardware store. Rat river runs through the town. The southern line of the town is partly the shore of Lake Winneconne. The population is 1,003, of whom 795 are native born and 766 born in this state. Of the number born on foreign lands, ninety-four are native to Norway, thirty-one to Denmark and sixty-three to Germany. There are a total of 21,000 acres in the town, of which 12,000 acres are improved and valued at $974,000. The harvest yields 77,000 bushels oats, 8,000 barley, 3,000 rye, 34,000 corn, 30,000 potatoes, and 5,000 tons hay. There are on the farms 622 horses, 3,000 cattle, and 3,000 hogs. The butter from the creamery sold for $12,000 and the product of five cheese factories brought $40,000.
The average sale of lands show the worth per acre as $71. The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran society erected two brick churches. The first settlement in the town of Clayton was made by Mr. Jerome Hopkins in the winter of 1847, followed in the spring by Mr. Samuel Rogers and family. Mr. James H. Jones came soon after, followed by Mr. Charles Jones, his father. Mr. James H. Jones was afterward honored with many town and county offices, and held the position of receiver in the United States land office at Menasha.
The school district was set off in 1849 and a log school erected. The first religious service was held by Rev. Frederick Partridge in June, 1850, and during the same year Rev. Mary became the first resident pastor, and his wife the teacher in the log school house.
At Clark-s Point, and for several miles along the shore of Lake Winneconne, on the border of this town, the shore is an abrupt bluff about fifty feet high. On the top of this bluff at Clark-s Point there are several effigies and round mounds located in the picnic grounds.
Town of Winneconne.
The town of Winneconne is cut into on one side by Lake Winneconne, formed by a broad expansion of Wolf river as it empties from Lake Poygan. It covers about six sections of the town and adds greatly to its charm of border, and its boating and fishing. The confluence of the Wolf River with the Fox river occurs in the southern half of the town where the river silt has formed the only real marsh in the county. It is overgrown with the Folles Avoine. or Indian wild rice, which entices swarms of water fowl at all seasons of the year, making it the resort of sportsmen. There is a good channel for navigation of steamboats on the Fox river. Its entire length from Green Bay to Portage, a distance of over one hundred and sixty miles, made possible over its entire route by dams and locks of the Improvement company and now maintained and improved by the United States government, whose engineers are in charge. The Wolf river is navigable for light draught steamboats as far up stream as New London, a distance of forty-three miles above Winneconne.
The area north of the river rises abruptly to a height of about fifty feet, and toward the north line of the town by continued ridges and incline to an elevation of about one hundred and twenty feet above the lake. The panorama here presents a picturesque view of lake and river, with the finely improved and cultivated farms of this rich country seen over the region far and near. Ball Prairie occupies the elevated plateau and stretches away into Vinland. The name is derived from a string of thirteen mounds, which appeared to the surveyors as large balls. They were about four feet high, conical in shape and could be seen at a long distance. On this elevation stands the Cross limestone outcrop. Fine springs are common in the town and flowing wells can be had by boring.
The lands of the town are everywhere a rich glacial loam, and the farms under a high state of cultivation, with large handsome dwellings and commodious outbuildings.
The old Tomahawk trail passed through the corner of the town and passed the Fox river at Big Butte des Morts, as described in another place in this work. The site was near the line of the town of Oshkosh, near Overton's creek, in that town. The first settlement in the county was made here at the site of the present village of Butte des Morts, as previously described, by the trading post of Augustin Grignou, the exact location of which may have been just oven the line in the town of Oshkosh. This post was under a license from the United States factor at Mackinac island, as the lands were then Indian lands, and no land title could be acquired. Augustin Grignon owned a large tract of land on which Butte des Morts is located, and at one time secured the location of the county seat at this village, and it was a strong rival to Oshkosh. Winneconne village was the site of the government blacksmith shop of the famous blacksmith, Joseph Jourdain, a site which he sold in 1849 to John Lawe Williams, the only son of Eleazer Williams, the lost dauphin.
Until after the treaty of Poygan no settlement could be made west of the river. For this reason the first rush of pioneers was over the lands east of the river and lake. The first settlers in the town was Augustin Grignon and wife, and L. B. Porlier and wife, all of whom are dead and lie buried just over the line at Butte des Morts. The pioneer of the east was led by Samuel Champion and his son John, who, with Samuel Lobb, located in the town March, 1846. The following May Mr. George Bell and family arrived from Toronto, Canada. Mrs. Bell was the first white woman to locate in the town; and in the fall, when her husband suffered from ague, she harvested the crop of wheat, cutting the grain with the old-fashioned scythe; and in September, when she was the only well person in the town, she yoked the oxen and, loading a grist into the wagon, drove it to Neenah, thirteen miles away, across the country, as there was no road. She returned the same night with the flour and grist, reaching home in the dark at midnight.
About three weeks after the advent of the Bell family. Mr. Greenbury Wright and family, and his brother. Dr. Aaron B. Wright, better known as "Little Doctor Wright," arrived from Ohio and selected a farm on the present site of the village of Butte des Morts. Greenbury Wright was born November 19, 1808, and died January 4, 1884. With his brother they were the second party of whites to settle in the town of Winneconne. He acted as first justice of the peace, elected in 1847, and was chairman of the first town meeting in 1848. The first religious meeting in the town was held at his house in 1846 by Rev. Dunadate, a Methodist. As justice he performed the first marriage ceremony in the town in 1847. He sold his land on which he first settled, which was a pre-emption in section twenty-four, and purchased his farm in section thirteen in 18fi5. Dr. Aaron B. Wright moved to Oshkosh, where he was one of the foremost physicians until his death April 2, 1886.
In the year of 1846 a large colony arrived, consisting of Julins Ashby, Lafayette McConifer, Stephen Allen, William Caulkins, Edwin Bolden, George Snider and George Cross. In the spring of 1847 Mr. John Cross, and in 1848 Mr. William Cross and family, all brothers, took up lands as neighbors. William was killed a few years later by the kick of a horse. The Cross family has always held a high position in the town. Mr. George Cross was a surveyor, millwright and miller by trade and in his travels had picked up a wide acquaintance among public men, having become acquainted with Stephen A. Douglas, Gov. James D. Doty, Bishop Chase, a brother of Salmon P. Chase, and many other public men.
The first school house of the town was erected at Cottons Corners in 1848. Two years later the people at the village of Winneconne erected a frame shanty sixteen by twenty feet, in which the first schoolmaster was William Mumbrue. This school house was used for religious meetings and other gatherings. There were in 1878 six school houses in the town, with 800 scholars and eleven teachers, including those in the villages. The population of the town is 655, of whom 547 are native born and 69 native to Germany. The town comprises 13,625 acres, of which 10.000 acres are improved, valued at $928.000. The crops raised in 1905 were 2,700 bushels wheat, 78,000 oats, 16,000 barley, 45,000 corn, 10,000 potatoes, 2,900 apples, and 4.000 tons hay. Of live stock the town contained 494 horses, 2.200 cattle, 1,700 hogs, 803 sheep. Eleven thousand fowl produced 22,000 dozen eggs, and 1.394 milch cows yield 13,700 pounds of butter. The two creameries received $13,000 and the four cheese factories $21,000 for their butter and cheese.
The town is rich in archeological data, and exhibits much evidence of long residence by aboriginals. There was no great hill of the dead or Big Butte des Morts at the place by that name or at any place about the lake of that name, and the origin of the name for these places is a mystery. There were low mounds on the site of the village of Butte des Morts, which is almost a mile up the Fox river from the large lake of that name. These low mounds are described by Hon. James G. Pickett as being one oblong mound about 150 feet long by twenty wide, and about five feet high, surrounded by several smaller circular mounds. All of these could be seen from the river. There is no such mound as described by Dr. I. A. Lapham in "Antiquities of Wisconsin," 1850; "near the head of this lake is the mound from which its name is derived on the north or left bank of the river." No such mound ever existed at any place about the shore of Big Lake Butte des Morts. The lake was first named, and the village was named from the lake several years afterwards. There was a graveyard on the site of the village of Butte des Morts, as the large amount of aboriginal artifacts unearthed in the gardens shows. Mr. Benedict of that place has recovered a fine collection of relics from these fields and gardens. It is not certain that the mounds from which Ball Prairie takes its name are artificial. No research report has been made on them.
The most interesting of all the aboriginal remains are the shell heaps which were about the shore of the lake and the river in the village of Winneconne, and extended and still can be found at intervals all around the east and north shore of Lake Winneconne as far as the boom. In this town those on the southwest quarter of section ten are the best preserved, on the lands formerly owned by Mrs. R. Lasley. These shell heaps are composed of sand and mussel shell native to the adjacent waters. The clams were eaten by the aboriginal and the shells dropped to the ground, and the circle or extent of the shell heaps is supposed to represent approximately the limits of the tent-shaped hoop and bark tepee of the native. As these shell heaps mark the floors of the living place of these ancient people, they now yield many lost implements and works of art once possessed by these stranger races. A limited search of these shell heaps has recovered a number of bone implements, decorated bones, fragments of pottery vessels, some decorated with cloth fabric, two ivory harpoons and several copper spear or lance points. Some of these heaps are still two feet high. Near these shell heaps are several cairns or stone heap burials, also stone circles, and the long aboriginal corn rows, and some artificial depressions.
Butte des Morts Hamlet.
The plat of the village of Butte des Morts was recorded in the office of the register of deeds at Oshkosh July o, 1848. Augustin Grignon proprietor. In March, 1871, the village of Butte des Morts was incorporated by an act of the legislature. These were the flush days of the riverside hamlet. The first post office in the town of Allimeconne was located at Butte des Morts, in June.
From a private letter to the author, June 25, 1908, from H. H. G. Bradt, of Eureka, 1849. with Augustin Grignon as postmaster. Mr. F. P. Hamlin erected the first frame building in the town of Winneconne at Butte des Morts, and occupied it with a stock of merchandise. In the same village the first saw mill was constructed and operated by Smith and Bennett in February, 1850, their saw logs coming from the Wolf river. It was first operated in August, 1850. The machinery came from Detroit by boat. The village now has a population of 120, and contains two general stores, a blacksmith shop, and a country hotel, famous for its duck dinners.
The Village of Winneconne.
The village of Winneconne was first a blacksmith shop site, selected by the government under the Menominee treaty of 1836, in which it was spelled Wah-ne-kun-nah, at least that was the name given to the lake in the treaty, at the lower end of which the payments were to be made to the Menominee Indians of $20,000 per annum for the term of twenty years. This part of the treaty was subsequently modified. The place named was the site of the present village of Winneconne. It was on the west side of the river that Joseph Jourdain built his blacksmith shop as blacksmith at $400 per annum to the Indians. This was under authority of this same treaty, which reads: "Also to appoint and pay two blacksmiths, to be located at such places as may be designated by the said superintendent, to erect and supply with the necessary quantity of iron, steel and tools two blacksmith shops during the same term." Both of these shops were located on the west side of the Wolf river on the present site of Winneconne.
The writer has before him now what is possibly the first instrument ever made between white men dealing with property on the west bank of the Wolf river. The name of the village is given as Waynaconnah. This deed is written by F. J. Woutman, who long acted as the private secretary of Eleazer Williams, the Lost Dauphin. It is made and signed by Joseph Jourdain, the nestor among Wisconsin blacksmiths. It deeds lands to John L. Williams, the only descendant of Kleazer Williams, who. if he had his own, would have been the Duke of Normandy, and the Dauphin of France. It is witnessed by Eleazer Williams, the reputed Louis XVH, the lost King of France.
The deed gives to John Lawe Williams for $168.69 all the claim, right or title of Joseph Jourdain "to that parcel of land lying and being at Waynaconnah (where the blacksmith shop of the Indians now stands) on the west side of the Wolf river, containing 160 acres, more or less, together with a dwelling house, outhouses and improvements on the same." This warrantee deed was made August 7, 1849. It was not acknowledged before a notary and was never recorded. These lands were held by John L. Williams for a good many years and platted as Williamsport. He sold the land for a handsome figure and moved to Oshkosh. In "Prince or Creole" the author has collected all the data relating to this celebrated family.
The first settlement on the east bank of the river, on the site of the present village of Winneconne was made by Jeremiah Pritchett in 1847 by the erection of a log cabin. Two years later Mr. C. R. Hamlin converted the government blacksmith shop on the west side of the river into a residence and tavern. The same season of 1849 E. D. Gumaer erected a frame house, and at the same time Mr. Charles L. Gumaer and John Atchley were erecting frame houses. The Mumbrues erected a hotel the same season, and Mr. John Scott opened a general store, and Mr. H. C. Rogers opened a second store. The post office was established at the village in 1850, with Joseph Edwards as postmaster. This office was located by the aid of Gov. James D. Doty, who gave it the name of Wanekuna, or so he spelled the name, which was long before attached to the lake in the treaty of 1836. This same year Mr. C. Mumbrue built a chair factory run by horsepower, and the Hyde Brothers built a saw mill. The float bridge was put across the Wolf river in 1855 by a stock company under the management of Judge J. D. Rush. The present bridge was built in 1871 at a cost of $18,000.
The Hyde Brothers built a steam saw mill in 1850. It is said that as log cabins were all the style those days, the saw mills at Oshkosh, Algoma, Butte des Morts with this new steam mill overstocked the market and broke down the lumber business and caused a failure of the mill.
The land on the west side of the river came into the market in 1852. In 1850 the Presbyterian church was organized by Rev. Robinson. During the same year the Methodists organized under Rev. J. C. Simcox, an English Wesleyan Methodist.
The village has always had water navigation, and for many years it has been served by a stage route from Oshkosh both summer and winter. The C., M. & St. P. railway was built into the village in 1868, connecting it with the outside world. This is the terminal of this branch of the road. The village plat of Winneeonne was recorded October 15, 1849, by Hoel S. Wright and E. Gordon, proprietors. The plat of A Villagesport was not recorded until 1866. A company of capitalists from Ripon purchased the land of John L. Williams, unplatted, and recorded the Ripon plat in 1868. The village of Winneconne now has a population of 1,042, and contains some handsome residences and numerous business and mercantile establishments. Mr. R. B. Crowe is the editor of the "Item." The Union Bank of Winneeonne has a capital stock of $10,000. W. K. Ridiout, of Oshkosh, is president, and George H. Miller, cashier. There is also a flour mill and canning factory. The hotel is the resort of tourists, hunters and fishermen from the larger cities coming here for recreation and sport.
Town of Wolf River.
The town of Wolf River is named for the Wolf river, which runs through the town, cutting it in two parts, and remains un- bridged in the town. Lake Poygan's shore borders the whole of its south line. The Rat river runs through its eastern sections into the Wolf river. The town is well watered and contains rich black soil yielding large crops. There is a post office at Orihula, the name formerly given to the town and the hamlet formerly known as Merton's Landing, named for the first settler of the town, whose place was at that point on the Wolf river. It has a population of fifty, one general store and a blacksmith shop. Its railroad station is at Weyauwega, twelve miles away. There is also communication with the outside world by steamboat on the Wolf river. There is also a post office at Zitteau, and at Zoar, on the boom. William Spiegleberg's old station, once a very promising place because of the boomage of logs in the bay fronting the site. The population of the Town of Wolf River is 902, of which 212 are born in Germany, and although 678 were born in Wisconsin, they are mostly of German descent. Of the total of 16.000 acres in the town there are 7.000 acres improved and valued at $700,000. The town grows annually 46.000 bushels of oats, 11,000 barley, 6,000 rye, 29,000 corn, 40,000 potatoes and 4,300 tons of hay. The stock of the town is listed at 504 horses, 2,600 cattle, 1,600 hogs and 1,000 sheep. There are also 1,500 milk cows, which produce 28,000 pounds of butter, and 8,500 fowls, producing 28,000 dozen eggs. The sales of the seven cheese factories amount to $51,000.
The first settler in the town was Andrew Herton, who located at Morton's Landing, on Wolf River, in the fall of 1849. He was soon joined by Albert Neuschoeffer and Herman Page, who also came from Sheboygan County. Charles Boyson and family settled along the river the same fall. Their grist was taken in boats down the river to the mill of D. W. Forman & Co., at Algoma, in a home-made dugout or canoe carved from a solid log. In 1851 the steamer Berlin commenced regular trips up the river, and outside communication was more pleasant. There is no railroad in the town. The town was not settled very soon and it was 1858 before the first school was opened by Mary Havers at her home, and the first public school building was erected in 1859. For many years there was only one Republican voter in the town and he was the postmaster. There are two German Protestant churches in the town. The United States mail rural delivery is extended into the town from Freemont and Larson.
At the old bay boom site, on the property of Mr. Charles Richter, there is the most extensive shell heap field in the whole state. It covers an area of 300 acres. The heaps are of various sizes from level with the soil to three and four feet high. On the residence site of Mr. Richter there is an ancient aboriginal burial ground. Many skeletons and a mass of relics have been unearthed in the garden, consisting of copper, stone and shell implements and pottery sherds.
In the southern part of this town the Wolf river enters Lake Poygan through a long sweep of marsh land seven miles along the river. Off to the south of the winding swirl of the river Bay Boom sets up into the marsh from the lake to almost within half a mile of the river. By cutting a canal through the sand from the river into this bay a land-locked, quiet place was secured for booming the millions of logs from the white pine forests which came sweeping down the river each season, the harvest of 2,000 woodsmen who had sawed and skidded all through the winter in the great forests along the river. From the graphic sketch of the booming and handling of these millions of logs, written by Charles G. Finney in the "History of Oshkosh," issued by Finney & Davis in 1866, we copy the following :
"Another prominent feature in our lumber trade is the 'Wolf River Boom Company.' This company was incorporated in 1857, J. H. Weed, president. It occupies that part of the Wolf river above Lake Poygan, a distance of three and one-half miles, the cutoff or canal one-eighth of a mile, and a bay at the northeast point of the lake (Poygan) now known as Boom Bay, and extending southwards from the cutoff two miles. In this bay the rafts are mostly made up. and to say acres of logs conveys but a slight idea of the magnitude of the company operations. This cutoff, the spiling and booming of the bay and the river above has cost the company $20,000 and has so systematized and facilitated the business of making up the 'fleets' of logs ready for towing that, compared to a former period, the business is now done at a less expense, a saving of time and a saving of logs to the owners. It has until a year or two since been the practice of the boom company to collect the logs and make up the rafts for those running logs to market, and receiving from 40 to 50 cents per thousand feet as a reimbursement; but that practice is mostly abandoned. Now each man or company owning the logs has men all along at the booms on the bay and river above for some miles to gather up the logs as they come along, turn them into their respective booms, where they are rafted, and hung outside the booms in the bay, and are there made up into what is called 'fleets.' For furnishing such facilities and conveniences the company receive 10 cents per thousand feet, amounting to a large sum in the season. The hardwood logs are cribbed above and brought down in that shape, when they are run directly through the cutoff without rafting, and pay toll of 25 cents per crib, or $1 per raft. But the greater part of the logs are gathered and rafted as before described.
"The canal or cutoff is one-eighth of a mile long and is 100 feed wide. It connects Boom bay, or the northeastern bay of Lake Poygan. with the Wolf river above, where the river takes a sharp turn to the southwest, and shortens the distance of navigation seven miles, two and one-half miles of river, and a round about trip through Lake Poygan, and making nearly a straight course with the river above through Lakes* Poygan and Winneconne. Though the greater part of the rafting is done at the bay. the river above the cutoff and between that and the lake, comprising a distance of about three and one-half miles, is prepared for this purpose by a continuous boom some ten feet from the river bank, making a race through which all logs pass. Outside this boom the rafts are made up belonging to the different owners, and hundreds of men may be seen standing at their respective posts watching closely every log for the owner's mark and shoving it on its journey to the next when its ownership is not recognized. When their raft is full, made up in this way, it is shoved across the channel and 'hung,' to be taken through the canal in that shape, and to be made up into 'fleets' in the bay below. The river from its turn to the lake, some two miles, presents one solid mass of logs, which are also rafted and taken round through the lake to the bay aforesaid. It is difficult to convey to the mind of the reader a correct idea of this laborious process. It must be seen to be appreciated, and to take a view of the hundreds of small houses all afloat on the rafts, in which men, apparently happy, spend their lives, is but to impress the beholder with a full sense of the magnitude of the work and the mode of life of thousands of river men in the lumber trade.
"That there are two miles and a half of the river occupied in making up the rafts and two miles of Boom bay below the cutoff used for the same purpose. Sixty companies are engaged in getting out and running down logs. There are facilities for making up at the same time 150 rafts, which are made up and 'hung' outside the booms for 'fleeting.' Half a million of logs in number pass through the cutoff in one season. One hundred and fifty million feet of logs got out is a fair estimate for this year. Two thousand men are engaged yearly in the logging business. Three hundred men are engaged in rafting at the bay. Average wages per day is $2.
"Logs taken in fleets from this bay by tugs to Oshkosh cost 15 to 20 cents; to Fond du Lac, 40 to 50 cents; Neenah and Menasha, 40 to 50 cents. Fleets comprising from 2.000,000 to 3,000,000 feet are brought down by a single tug. The prominent appendage of a tug is her 'grouser,' which an old 'salt' would call a 'juy mast.' After the boat is attached to the fleet she is run out to the length of her tow line and this perpendicular fixture (grouser) is then let down directly through the forward part of the boat, and being armed with a steel point, sinks deep into the sand or mud and, like a kedge anchor, holds the boat fast; then the machinery for increased power, operated on by steam, winds up the line and moves the fleet so much. Then before the momentum is lost the boat has hauled up her 'grouser,' gone ahead and ready to give another pull a somewhat slow but powerful method of moving logs. It is only through the lakes that this is done. On the river the fleets have to be divided into rafts or cribs on account of the narrowness and meandering of the channel, as well as in order to pass through the bridges, after which they are regularly towed and not groused, as in the case of the fleets. There is no tug on the river with a draft and capacity adapted to the business that could move one of these fleets, hence the grouser is an important member.
"A crib of logs is nearly square and of a size according to the length of the timbers or poles used to fasten them together, the logs being only held in their places by such timbers, size usually about twenty to thirty feet square.
"A raft consists of several of these cribs, sometimes to the number of hundreds, generally rearranged and fastened together by traverse sticks or poles running across and holding the logs securely in their places, the length depending on the number of logs belonging to the party or parties employing the tug. Rafts half a mile in length are a common sight on the river.
"A fleet is any number of these rafts that may be attached (temporarily) to save time in towing them through the lakes, covering thousands of feet square, according to the power of the tug employed. Cribs of timber, posts or ties are similar to a crib of logs in size and shape, but laid one course above the other consistent with the depth of the water."
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