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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 15

In the Beginning 
supplies for the Whitewater pioneers. One old timer, comparing the place
in 1838 and 1858, said, "Then beautiful adorned by nature; now more
beautiful, embellished by art."35 Here was the historical precedent
for the 
town's later flare, "the city beautiful." The historical significance
of 1858 
was further perpetuated by Prosper Cravath, Jr., one of old Deacon's 
two sons to reach majority, who then recorded his reminiscences which 
became the basis for the town's early history. 
The year 1860 opened with a willingness on the part of everyone to 
believe in the future of Whitewater. The Wisconsin Fruit Growers' Asso- 
ciation met there, the Lincoln Wide-Awake Brigade was organized, and 
the Library Association debated whether or not the signs of the times 
indicated a dissolution of the union. A Republican Club was organized 
under the banner of Webster's famous words, "Liberty and Union, now
and forever, one and inseparable," whose real job was to see to the
defeat 
of the Democrats.36 Having a firm grip on their share of material wealth
and believing in the principles for which their fathers died, they earned
the following compliment: 
Old Walworth, where citizens for years had been noted the state over 
for a certain dignity and steadfastness of character, redeemed herself during
the war from any taint of sluggish blood. No county of the state was filled
with more and better practical workers for the defense and maintenance of
the Union. The town of Whitewater itself was in earnest, clear to the 
backbone. ... .37 
By the end of May, 1861 the Whitewater Light Infantry had been raised 
to its full quota, and $4,000 was subscribed on the spot. A women's relief
society, formed on Thanksgiving Day, 1857 to assist the suffering caught
in the hard times, did much to sustain Whitewater's name as a patriotic 
Union village. 
To some degree the war changed the agricultural picture of the com- 
munity. During the five crucial years Wisconsin produced about 100,000,-
000 bushels of wheat, second only to Illinois. This exhausted the soil and
dairying climbed to pre-eminence. Cheese factories soon replaced the 
private kitchen of the farmer and the cow was substituted for the plow by
many. Others turned to sheep, and the Wisconsin Wool Growers' Asso- 
ciation was organized at Janesville in 1864. Still others found tobacco an
answer to the ruinous policy of unrotated wheat, but most of that was 
raised in Rock and Dane Counties. A few farmers even took up sugar 
cane and hops, while Hanford A. Conger made his orchard a business of 
note in town and the Salisbury nursery at Lima encouraged everyone to 
plant an evergreen. The list of Whitewater valuables in crops and livestock
15 


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