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Kimberly, James C. / The history of the Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club of Neenah, Wisconsin: an account of yacht racing on Lake Winnebago from 1859 to 1957
(1957)

Chapter 2: yacht racing comes to Neenah-Menasha,   pp. 4-20


Page 4

 
CHAPTER                             ang Comes 
                        to  7(eenah. J    enasha 
 THE documented history of yacht racing on Lake Winnebago, 
 as far as can be learned, dates from 1859. That year the first rac- 
 ing yacht of record at the northern end of the lake was built by 
 one Noricon at Menasha for Charles Doty, a son of a former ter- 
 ritorial governor of Wisconsin. It was a sloop with a twenty- 
 foot waterline. Appropriately enough, Doty named his new boat 
 the Mayflower, perhaps after the historic vessel which brought his 
 Dory forefather to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Another yacht with 
 a twenty-foot waterline, built for D. J. Pulling of Oshkosh, also 
 came from the Noricon yard that year. A ballast ship, she was 
 modeled after the America. This world-famed schooner of the 
 New York Yacht Club had crossed the Atlantic eight years 
 earlier, in 1851, and brought back the Royal Yacht Squadron 
 prize since known as the America's cup. 
 That victory started a wave of interest in the sport moving 
 across the country. When it reached Lake Winnebago it changed 
 Neenah's summer pastime into her major sport. Though settled as 
 early as 1835, Neenah as an organized town was only twelve 
 years old in 1859, and Menasha, which had been set off from 
 Neenah in 1855, was only four. Thus yacht racing became a part 
 of community life here almost at the beginning. 
 Early records of Winnebago yachting are few and fragmentary, 
 but those races that were reported in the papers show a young 
 and vigorous sport. In 1860 ten boats from Green Bay, Neenah- 
 Menasha, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac raced off Oshkosh for a 
 cup offered by its citizens. A surprising number considering the 
 date. Three came up the river from Green Bay, all of the deep- 
 ballast type; three entered from Oshkosh, owned by John Wil- 
 liams, Samuel Neff, and Hank Johnson; two from Fond du Lac, 
 the Petrel of a Mr. Howland, a clerk in the Foster Hotel, and the 
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