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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter VII: some economic aspects of 1846,   pp. 43-49

Page 45

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY                          45
to connect, with his definite business aim to establish a stable business enterprise, the
helpful aid of a permanent home. He extended the application of the theory to his
workmen, and proposed to employ a better class of workmen than those he had
found here and to employ when he could men of family who would bring their
families here. Several men of family soon did move here with their families.
Among them may be named Lorenzo Bullard and Jason Ball. John Vale probably
already had his wife here. An entry of credit in Capt. Wilson's account in 1846,
reads: "By six days in June procuring supplies and hands, 86.66."  Probably the
time mentioned was when he was at Ft. Madison after his'family.
Heretofore the workmen were to a large extent such as Lockwood describes as
being hired in yearly shifts. Of the workmen left here by David Black many were
transients, some staid but a few weeks, others but a few months. Among those
recently hired or who staid here and who did remain for some time may be named,
William and Samuel Whitcomb, Isaiah Hix, Alexander Hammal and Joseph Benson.
The leaving of workmen did not in all instances mean that the men who quit here
left the Red Cedar basin. There was then on the river above a logging camp at
Lamb's Creek and another or more on Hay River. There was a sawmill settlement
at Gilbert's Creek; a mill at "Hurd's Mill"' on Irvine's Creek; and on the Eau Galle
River, that of Carson and Eaton. The quitting of a man here might mean simply
that he was shifting to one of these places. John Fay was a transient. His ac-
count in 1846 shows that he worked six and one-half'days, became indebted for
medicine, board and whiskey and went away 75 cents in debt. Others show an
account of but a few weeks' duration.
One of those chance or unlucky events soon occurred to work its unfavoring
influence on this sawmill enterprise. David Black, the equal partner of John H.
Knapp, died in July, 1846. In law the death of a partner dissolves the partner-
ship. The natural and normal business of the firm instantly stops. The remaining
partners are thenceforth known as the surviving partners. Their lawful duty and
their only legal right is to close out the business, convert the partnership effects
into money and to therefrom pay all expenses incurred by them in relation to the
partnership property, pay all just claims and demands against the firm and then
pay to the legal representative of the deceased partner the part of the net proceeds
in their hands to which his estate is entitled.
This restrictive activity of a surviving partner is so rigidly enforced under the
law that if they engage in new ventures even though made with the purpose of
making present assets of greater value, vet in case of loss they have personally to
bear the whole loss, while if there should be a gain, they mustdivide that gain, as
profit, with the estate of the deceased partner.
The contract by which Knapp and Wilson were to have supervision of the busi-
ness for five years was intended to give stability to the enterprise. It expired with
the expiration of the partnership, at the death of David Black, and so became as
We have no traditions to tell us what was done to keep this business venture
running or what steps were taken that resulted in the preservation of the property
intact in the hands of Knapp and Wilson and from no early chronicle can we read it.
From the court record at Prairie du Chien of the administration of David Black's
estate and from the account books of the upper mill from 1846 to 1850, it is possible
to construct this probably true story.
At the death of David" Black, administration of his estate was granted to John S.
Lockwood, as administrator. He came here in November, 1846, and staid until
about December 18. On that day he is charged $10, for four weeks' board while
administering of estate of D. Black," and is charged in the month S6 for service
of horse and driver to Lake Pepin. The driver was John H. Knapp as we learn from
his account in the same month. While here Lockwood settled an open account
between Black and the firm of Black and Knapp. He is credited "By 15847 ft. of
lumber at $8.62 per M. being amount due estate D. Black on lumber a/c for 1846."
The credit is carried out at S136.60. It seems to have been subject to certain de-
ductions. which having been made, Lockwood was paid in cash sit17.10.

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