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Harney, Richard J. / History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest
(1880)

[History of towns],   pp. 230-296 (n) PDF (57.0 MB)


Page 295


HISTORY OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, WISCONSIN.
RAILROAD -SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL
ADVANTAGES.
A branch of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail-
road traverses the town, giving it railroad con-
nection with main lines.
According to school superintendent's report,
there were, in 1878, ten school-houses in the
town, including those in the Village of Omro,
and 1,o01 children of school-age.
The Villages of Omro and Waukau, and the
City of Oshkosh, give additional social and
educational advantages, which are possessed
to an extent seldom met with in rural com-
munities.   It has, also, superior commercial
advantages, through the navigable water-
course which connects it with an endless chain
of water communication, and with the pine
and hard wood forests of the Wolf and its
tributaries.   Building material-pine, hard
wood, limestone, sand and brick-are obtained
cheaply, and this fact has very much facilitated
the construction of the very creditable build-
ings with which the town abounds.      Among
other resources, is found an inexhaustable sup-
ply of the best quality of sand for glass making
and which will yet be utilized.
EARLY SETTLEMENT.
For some years before the white settlement
of Omro, a trading-post was established on
the present site of the village, by Charles Car-
ron. Jed Smalley and Captain William Pow-
ell were, also, temporarily located at this point
and were engaged in trading with the Indians.
The place was known as Smalley's trading-post.
FIRST PERMANENT SETTLERS.
In the spring of 1845, Edward West, now
residing in Appleton, made the first permanent
settlement in the limits of the town, having
purchased some five hundred acres of land and
put up two log houses, one of which was
located near the center of Section 23, and
which is one of the most lovely localities in
the county.    The following is copied from
printed extracts of a letter from Mr. West to
Kaime & Wright, of the Omro _ournal, and
which the latter have kindly permitted the
author of this work to use in this connection:
I marked out and cut, where it was necessary, a wagon road
from Rosesdale, Fond du Lac County, to my tand in Butte des
Morts (Omro), before I could move my family. Rosendale and
the " Fourierite " settlement, south and southwest, and Oshkosh
on the east were the nearest neighborhoods. There was an old
block-house a short distance above where the Village of Omro
is now located, and a few families - the Wrights, Galloupes
Stanleys and Fords - were trading with the Indians and farm-
ing a little whete the City of Oshkosh now stands. The coun-
try far to the south; and for a great distance north of the Fox
River, and westerly from Lake Winnebago, was uninhabited,
except by Indians. There were two or three very wet seasons
in succession about that time, and the general appearance of
the country was low and wet, and of a very spongy nature.
After wading some distance through water and tall grass to
reach the south shore of Fox River, at Oshkosh, near where
the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company's freight depot
now stands, I, with the rest of our exploring company, ( Hon.
R. B. Hinckley, Dr. Story and Edwin B. Fisk, all of the West
Milwaukee County, now Waukesha County, )were taken out in
Indian canoes by Mr. Stanley, who offered to sell his claim for
a small sum. I think the County buildings now stand on part
of the land. Our little party, all practical farmers, were unan-
imous in the opinion that Oshkosh did not present a very invit-
ing field or prospect for farming on an extensive scale. The
same opinion was entertained of the site where your flourishing
village - soon to be a city -now stands.  So I was saved by
the timely counsel of my friends, together with force of circum-
stances, from becoming by chance, or otherwise, a proprietor of
the village of Omro, or part proprietor of the city of Oshkosh.
But I have not escaped so well since.  The Indians of the four
tribes, Winnebagoes, Menomonees, Chippeways and Pottawat-
tomies were there in force, and held possession and occupancy
of the country lying between the Wolf river on the east and the
Mississippi on the west, and using and occupying at their pleas-
ure all the country north and south of Fox river for hunting
grounds. Most kinds of game were scarce, on account of the
Indians either killing it or driving it off, excepting wolves and
prairie hens; which the red men were too superstitious to molest.
Prairie hens were very plentiful - so numerous that I killed
them in large numberes with a shot gun and with "dead falls,"
to save my grain; and what could not be used in the family
were fed to the hogs.  Strangers exploring the country, were
accustomed to call upon me and make inquiries about the land,
and they were generally loaded down with the wild chickens,
part of which they ate themselves, as they generally stopped
with me, and the rest generally found their way to the pig sty.
FIRST SETTLERS.
The next settlers after Mr. West were Abram
Quick, now of Utica, Hezekiah Gifford, John
Munroe, R. M. Buck, John R. Paddleford and
John S. Johnson, all of whom were residents
in the spring of 1846. In the summer of 1846,
came Barna Haskell, Myron Howe, Leuman
Scott, Walter Stewart, Nelson Olin, Frederick
Tice, Gilman      Lowd, Smith      Jones, and
Musgrove, all of whom settled in the present
limits of the town.
In 1847, the town received the following
accessions to its population :       M. C. Bushnell,
A. C. Pease, Nelson Beckwith, David Humes,
Richard Reed, James Reed, Bela Beals, Theo-
dore Pillsbury, Thomas Palfrey, David Mink-
ler, John Pingrey, Isaac Hammers, James
Hoaglin, F. B. Bunker, Austin Clark, William
Remington, John L. Bidwell, John Perry,
Sumner Wilson, Jude F, Rogers, William
Thrall, Calvin Bigelow, James M. Olin, La
Fayette Lamb, G. W. Beckwith, Isaac Ger-
main, George Stokes, Nathan Wolverton,
Alvin Beals, Nelson Tice, N. J. Forbes, John
Perry, and others.
295
1 846-47- ]


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