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City of Appleton 1989 historic sites inventory
(1989)

History of Appleton,   pp. 5-6 PDF (841.1 KB)


Page 5


           HISTORY OF APPLETON
The Fox, Menomonee, and Winnebago Indians all lived in the Appleton area
before
European explorers and settlers. The first white explorer to record his discoveries
in what
was to become northeastern Wisconsin was FatherJean Nicolet in 1634. He came
here
to explore the vast North American continent and to convert the Indians.
He claimed
territory in what is now Wisconsin for France. Other explorers followed Nicolet
into
Wisconsin. In 1673, Joliet and Father Marquette traveled up the Fox River
through a
future Appleton in their discovery of a route from the Great Lakes to the
Mississippi
River.
What is now Outagamie County was ceded to the US Government by the Indians
in the
1836 Treaty of the Cedars. The treaty, which was signed just up river from
what is now
Appleton, gave the US Government over 4,000,000 acres of land in Northern
Wisconsin
that included cities as far north as Wisconsin Rapids. The land that was
purchased by
the Government was sold to settlers and land speculators.
As a result of the Treaty of Cedars more white people came into Northern
Wisconsin.
The first white man to settle in what is now the City of Appleton was Hippolyte
Grignon.
He built his home, the White Heron, just up river from the "grand chute"
in 1835. His
cabin had two wings; one served as an inn and the other as a trading post.
It was located
west of today's Lutz Park. A plaque there commemorates his settlement.
The settlement of Appleton was a result of the founding of Lawrence University.
In 1847
Lawrence received its charter from the Territorial Legislature after Amos
A. Lawrence
made a contribution for its establishment to the Wisconsin Methodist Episcopal
Conference in the amount of $10,000, contingent upon the Methodist Church
raising
a similar amount. The money was raised by the Rev. William Sampson and a
committee
consisting of Colonel Henry Blood, Mr. George Day, and the Rev. Reeder Smith
set out
to find out a suitable location.
Mr. Lawrence wanted his "college in the woods" to be located between
Lake Winne-
bago and Green Bay, preferably in De Pere where he owned land. The site chosen
was
in Appleton because of its beauty and its potential for water power. Many
of the
community's early buildings were built around the college at first because
it was the
center of the community. One of the first buildings was the small house owned
by John
F. Johnston, the first family to settle in Appleton. This house was located
at what is now
the northwest corner of Durkee and Washington. It served as a town hall,
post office,
hospital, and a church. Appleton's name comes from Samuel Appleton, a relative
of Mr.
Lawrence who gave $10,000 to the college for the establishment of a library.
Appleton grew very fast. In 1848 the Appleton Village Plat was laid out by
Rev. Sampson,
Reeder Smith, Henry Blood, and Mr. Joel S. Wright. Within a year William
Warner had
established the first general store and by 1850 the population was 619. While
Appleton
was growing so were to rival communities to the east and west of Appleton;
Lawesburg,
which was east of Union Street, and Grand Chute, was west of Division Street.
In 1853 Appleton, Lawesburg, and Grand Chute combined forces and incorporated
as
the Village of Appleton. The first officers were John F. Johnston as President,
James
Phinney as Clerk, M. M. Egglestone as Treasurer, and James Gilmore as Assessor.
There
were also six Village Trustees. In 1857 Appleton having grown to 2,000 people
incorpo-
rated as a city. The City of Appleton's first officials were Amos Story,
Mayor; Fred Pack-
ard, Clerk; Anson Ballard, Attorney; and C. E. Bennett, Treasurer. The City
was divided
into three wards with two aldermen for each.
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