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Bohi, M. Janette / A history of Wisconsin State University Whitewater, 1868-1968
(1967)

1 In the beginning: nation, state, and village (1837-1868),   pp. 7-[18]


Page 8

Whitewater University 1868-1968 
and '70's, 5,000 of the latter being turned out in 1868. In the '80's har-
vesters (self-binders) and mowers were sold and in 1889, the peak year, 
525 paychecks were issued to employes. In 1893 the business was trans- 
ferred to Minneapolis under a new organization, but the Esterly star did
not rise in Minnesota. It was not easy for promoters at Whitewater to 
observe the success of Jerome I. Case of Racine whose million-dollar-a- 
year output of threshers and wagons in 1870 took his name into every 
state and territory west of the Mississippi; but the cultural prize went
to 
Esterly's home town and the glory of his day committed the Whitewater 
normal enterprise to encompass wide prairies of achievement. For gen- 
erations to come tribute was paid to those men whose "public spirit
and 
sagacity," according to Register Editor E. D. Coe, "could not be
excelled 
anywhere in the state.16 Those Yankee puritans themselves boasted that 
they made "better plows for our state than Massachusetts knows how to
make."'7 American optimism had spread to Walworth County. 
The search for reality and the means to express it broadened the hori- 
zons of men's minds in the Middle Period of American history. Nathaniel 
Hawthorne's sentiments about his ancestors of Old Salem were perceptive 
of the transition. Knowing that they would have questioned the value of 
becoming a writer of stories, Hawthorne imagined one to say, "What 
kind of a business in life,-what mode of glorifying God, or being serv- 
iceable to mankind ... may that be?" But while he masterfully defended
his art, he admitted: "Such are the compliments bandied between my 
great-grandsires and myself, across the gulf of time! And yet, let them 
scorn me as they will, strong traits of their nature have intertwined them-
selves with mine..... '8 Emerson, the dean of New England intellects, 
did not hesitate to trace the source of happiness to the perfecting of the
laws of the soul, to religious sentiment which awakened the mind and 
created forms of worship. These ethical and aesthetic idealists of New 
England paid no tribute to orthodox Calvinism, but their bent on perfect-
ing society reflected the same individualism by which the more funda- 
mental immigrants to southeastern Wisconsin established their moral 
institutions. Close to soil and sky, they sensed the personal benediction
of nature's one true God. 
While they did not bring to Wisconsin copies of the Blue Laws, the 
planters of Walworth County came with definite ideas as to how God's 
moral laws should be respected. To the quiet church-going New Eng- 
lander or New Yorker, Sunday was a holy day; and in 1839 the Wisconsin 
Yankees introduced into the Territorial Legislature a code entitled "Of
offenses against chastity, morality and decency" which read: 
8 


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