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Goeres, Henry / Yellowbird : a true tale of the early settlement of Town Schleswig, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin

I. The gravel pit,   pp. [3]-5 PDF (862.7 KB)

Page [3]

                    I. THE GRAVEL PITM
     In a gravel pit near the Sheboygan River, whose banks in those
days were studded with dense virgin vegetation, some twelve or
fourteen laborers were counseling together. Some of the men had
their working jackets on and others were in their shirt sleeves, but
all of them appeared to be greatly perplexed about something. They
were employed in constructing a road from the city of Sheboygan
on Lake Michigan through the good timber land lying between it
and the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. A number of smart and
influential businessmen had used considerable diligence in securing a
franchise for the projected road from the legislature of the State of
    At that time the city of Sheboygan contained about three thou7
sand inhabitants. Between Sheboygan and Lake Winnebago there
were but very few white people living. At long intervals a log
cabin of the most modest kind appeared to view. Cultivated tracts
Of land were rarer still.
       A boom was expected in this part of the country on account
of the increasing current of immigration from all portions of Europe,
especially Germany. In order to build a road and at the same time
avoid the heavy expenses connected therewith, a cunning idea was
realized in the legislature referred to. It consisted in first securing
a franchise for a state road and having good surveyors immediately
lay it out. As soon as this was accomplished, the same legislature
was asked for permission to have the state road changed into a plank
or toll road. Incredible as it may appear, such a permit was granted.
    The advantages gained by this manoeuver were considerable,
for the officials of the state road had the right, by virtue of their
charter,'to run the road through any lands without paying a cent for
the priviledge br for the material used. Nobody, indeed, derived
any direct gain from this ruse the object of which was twofold,
firstly, to furnish the country about the eastern half of the road with
a better connection with the Sheboygan market, and, secondly, to
secure to that city the market for a longer period of time.
    Land speculators and owners of mills and stores planned the
platting of townsites, and expected that a good highway from Lake
Winnebaga to Sheboygan, the marketplace, would bring about a

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