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

City of Menasha,   pp. 215-229 PDF (10.6 MB)


Page 215


HISTORY OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, WISCONSIN.
The track of the Chicago & Northwestern
Railroad was laid through the town in i860,
and passing through the hardwood belt in the
eastern portion of the town, afforded an excel-
lent market for wood.
Soon after the completion of the road, an
establishment for the manufacture of barrel
stock was erected, and a side-track laid for con-
venience of shipping.
After running for a year or two, this manu-
facturing establishment was blown up, and so
far destroyed that no attempt was made to
rebuild, but the place became a railroad sta-
tion, situated on the northwest quarter of the
northeast quarter of Section Eight.
A comparative statement of population,
schools and valuation, would be oflittle impor-
tance here, in consequence of the frequent
changes of boundaries prior to 1862.
The present town officers are, Geo. Hai low,
chairman; George Zemlockand A. W. Collins,
supervisors; C. A. Tuller, clerk; G. P. Vin-
ing,  assessor;   Frank    Heigel,   treasurer;
G. H. Mansur, David Doyle and David W.
Thomas, justices.
HISTORY OF CITY OF MENASHA.
[COMPILED FOR THIS WORK BY WM. N. WEBSTER.]
CHAPTER LVI.
The Early History of Menasha - Purchase of Site - Com-
mencement of Improvements - First House Built - First
School, and First Religious Services - First Birth -
Rivalry between Menasha and Neenah for the Location of
the State Canal - Menasha Secures the Prize - Store
Opened - Post Office Established - Dam Completed -
First Saw-mill in Operation - First Grist Mill - More
Manufactories  Established - Steamboat  Built - Plank
Road and Bridge Constructed -Government Land Office
Established at Menasha-The Village Incorporated-
Distinguished Residents-Captain McKinnon's Blooded
Stock-Increased Transportation Facilities-Completion of
Canal.
ET     HE soil upon which the City of Menasha
now stands, was first offered for sale
by the United States, August 3 1, I 835,
and was bid off at prices ranging from
five to ten dollars per acre, evincing an
unusual confidence in the future import-
ance of this locality.
The Hon. James Duane Doty, long
acquainted with this section, became the
owner of a large portion of the present site.
By an act approved February 8th, 1847, the
Legislature granted authority for the construc-
tion of a dam across each channel of the Fox
River from the Island to the mainland.  This
authority was obtained through the efforts of
Gov. Doty, who had long foreseen the import-
tance and value of this immense water power,
associating with himself Harvey Jones and
Harrison Reed, who had become owners of
the property on the south side, and Curtis
Reed who was particularly identified with Doty
on the north side.   Disagreements soon
sprang up between the two interests, in
consequence of which Doty and Reed, through
Mr. Reed, procured a new charter, March to,
1848, and the repeal of the old charter, so far
as it related to the dam on the north side.
COMMENCEMENT OF IMPROVEMENTS.
In June 1848, Mr. Reed came here for the
purpose of improving the water power, and
locating a village thereon. He at once com-
menced the erection of a log house, near the
head of the present canal, which when com-
pleted was occupied by Clark Knight as a
tavern and boarding house. About this time
the place was named by the wife of Governor
Doty, " Menasha," signifying " an island. "
At this time that portion of the present town,
lying north and east of the lake and river,
was an unbroken wilderness, untouched by the
hand of man, except that two months prev-
iously Mr. Cornelius Northrup had erected
a slab house, by placing two vertical courses
of slabs with their flat sides together, and was
occupying it. This stood in the center of
what is now known as Milwaukee street, at
the southwest corner of the southeast quarter
of the northeast quarter of section fifteen,
within Reed's addition to the city of Menasha.
The same year Mr. Reed put up a log building
which he occupied as a store, and commenced
the construction of the present dam.
Before the close of the year, Philo Hine,
George Stickles, Thomas and William Brother-
hood, Henry C. Tate, 1. M. Naricong, Wil-
liam Geer, J. H. Trude, Uriah Clinton, Henry
Alden, John B. Lajest and Jeremiah Hunt,
had settled here.  The latter, and some of the
others had brought their families.  Elbridge
Smith also came in October, and immediately
commenced the erection of the first frame
building, situated on Canal Street, and which
was so far completed at Christmas, that a
dance was held within its walls.
FIRST FRAME BUILDING-FIRST SCHOOL-
FIRST RELIGIOUS SERVICES - THE
MENASHA HOUSE.
The first frame building was also the first
devoted to the practice of the legal profession;
in it was ,also, taught the first school within
i835-48-]
215


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