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

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

Page 10

Whitewater University 1868-1968 
enforced than at Whitewater; in fact, Governor Doty appointed Squire 
I. U. Wheeler, a resident, justice of the peace for the county-"thus
furnishing the settlers with ample means for enforcing obedience to the 
law."22 The son of a Baptist minister, Wheeler had held many positions
of public trust in New York and his judgments were rarely appealed. His 
keen mind kept him in office until a few days before his death in his 84th
year. In 1841 the future village formed its temperance society to make it
"apparent" to all newcomers that "the inhabitants were strictly
ate.'"23 The crusade was successful enough from the social aspect, but
the question of licenses was battled by the pro and con factions from the
time Whitewater became a village in 1858, with "time out" only
for the 
Civil War. 
Like their forefathers, the founders of Whitewater made immediate 
provision for the education of their children. Cravath declared, "'Just
the twig is bent the tree's inclined' was a cardinal article in the belief
the pioneer fathers and mothers.24 Believing with the Puritans that edu-
cation and character building went hand in hand, and bearing from the 
land of Horace Mann the conviction that it was necessary to the spirit 
of progress, the citizens organized the north half of the town into a school
district even before it was separated from Richmond. On a spot at the 
center of the settlement the first log schoolhouse was built before the 
winter of 1840 had set in. Sheldon C. Powers of Troy was brought in to 
teach, and so successful was the operation that three years later the dis-
trict system was begun. In 1844 the "little brick" schoolhouse
was erected 
in District 1 in the north third of the settlement. Respect was demanded
to the extent that in some cases the children were required to salute the
teacher upon leaving the room. The second generation pastured their 
offspring on the bounty of this well established culture. 
During the 1840's the populace kept in touch with the outside world 
via the Milwaukee Sentinel, established June 27, 1837, the third paper in
the state. That Republican organ represented the more sophisticated ele-
ments of the territory, at least in their own eyes. The Sentinel became 
disgruntled about the monopoly of governmental posts by heroes of the 
West after Jackson appointed Henry Dodge the first governor of the Wis- 
consin territory, an event celebrated with unmitigated fanfare in Mineral
Point. "It seems the impression has been made at Washington that an
appointment to any office would not be acceptable to the people of the 
territory, unless the officer can get drunk, swear, or establish the fact
a tremendous oath that he has scalped a dead Indian," it complained.25
Despite the sensitivities of the place, however, Whitewater did not 
survive its first decade with reputation unscathed. For one thing, the 

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