The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Chapter IX, pp. 531-587 PDF (28.4 MB)
HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY. CHAPTER IX. THE COLUMBIA COUNTY PRESS-COMMON SCHOOLS-COUNTY BOARD 'OF SUPERVISORS-AUTHORS AND ARTISTS-PRESIDENT HAYES AND PARTY-COLUMBIA COUNTY'S WAR RECORD-COLUM- BIA COUNTY OF TO-DAY. THE COLUMBIA COUNTY PRESS. Thirty years ago, John Delaney settled in Portage, and commenced practicing law. He had pursued the duties of his profession but a short time when he was induced to take advan- tage of an opportunity then offering to establish a newspaper in what, even at that, early date, promised to be a leading city of the Badger State. Procuring a few cases of type and an ancient printing-press, he commenced business, having his brother James for a partner. "Delaney Brothers" was the style and title of the firm, and the first number of their paper bore date of July 4, 1850, being issued from a small wooden building which stood on the northwest side of the canal, in the vicinity of Lewis' lumber-yard. It was called the River Times, was a six-column folio, Democratic in politics, and thoroughly en rapport with the spirit of improvement-then existing. The editor, in his salutatory, said:" We this day publish the first number of the Fox and Wisconsin River Times. If it is not a curiosity now, it will be hereafter, as the first paper published in the city of Fort Winnebago." Truly, the transfer of a printing-office to Fort Winnebago (as Portage was then called) and the setting it in motion must have been no light task, and the first issue implies the exercise of much energy and enterprise. Evi- dently, the men who accomplished the work were not then 'deterred by trifles. "That gov- ernment is best which governs least " was the motto of the River Times, and above the edito- rial columns appeared the unqualified assertion, "1.The world is governed too much." The initial number was a well-printed, creditable sheet, full of vigor and vigilance for those days. Its contents were: A beautiful poetic selection from the Louisville Journal; "London at Night; " "England and the United States;" ". "The Lady;" " 11A New Orleans Mazzaroni "-a story wherein was told how a New Orleans burglar had stolen the jewelry of a young husband and wife, from beneath their, pillow while: they were asleep, and, with cool impudence, had kissed the bride on departing; "Advice to Unmarried Ladies" is followed by a, spirited and hopeful editorial on Northern Wisconsin, in which the writer cites the causes of immigration, and tell§ why it has hitherto settled chiefly in the eastern portion of the State. But he declares that the era for the opening-up of the prairies, the forests, the streams and the lakes of Northern and Western Wisconsin, is at hand. And succeeding years have told how truly he prophesied. Even then, he speaks of the feasibility of the Fox and Wisconsin Improvement--'a direct inland water communication between New York and New Orleans, .via Portage-as placed beyond question, with the means at hand for its completion. He declares that the short canal to connect the streams will be finished that summer, and states that the Wisconsin is traversed regularly by steamers throughout the whole route, and that the navi- gable portions of the Fox have each its steamboat, plying between towns and cities. He has much else to say in support of this scheme, and reprints, in its favor, large extracts from the Green Bay Advocate and Oshkosh Democrat. But the advertisements of that number will give something of an idea of who were doing business in Portage that summer, thirty years ago. T. Dean & Co. continued to hold out inducements to the trading public, in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, ready-made clothing, stoves and tin and hardware; John Strong, of the Banner Store, was a wholesale and retail dealer much in the same line of goods. Keegan & Moore had the prices of these commodities 531.
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