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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 217


HISTORY OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, WISCONSIN.
In the fall of 1849, a post-office was estab-
lished, and James R. Lush appointed post-
master.  The office was carried in Jimmy's
hat, and it wasn't a large hat, either.
In the winter of 1849-50, was instituted the
first public . school, taught by Mrs. Henry
Alden.
In 1850. the dam was completed, and the
Reed and Northrop mill placed in successful
operation.
H. A. Burts, having, on the first of Febru-
ary, removed from Neenah to his present resi-
dence, soon interested himself with H. Reed,
built an addition to the mill, and starting on
foot for Milwaukee, one hundred miles, con-
tracted for machinery for a grist-mill, and
returned as he went (on foot), the only method
of travel at the time, making the journey in
one week.   This was the first grist-mill built
here.
Lyman Fargo and J. W. Thombs com-
menced the erection of a foundry and machine
shop this year.
The Slocum saw-mill was completed within
the year, and Potter and Duchman commenced
their saw-mill, which was completed the next
season ;this, in 1877, gave place to the paper-
mill at the south end of the dam. The old pio-
neer saw-mill of Reed & Northrop, and grist-
mill of Reed & Burts, have long since passed
away, and on the same ground stands the com-
modious three-story flouring mill of A. Symes,
containing eight runs of stones, while the
Slocum mill having fulfilled its mission, is only
known among the things that were, the site
being occupied by the planing-mill of Rohrer
& Co.
NEW ARRIVALS-STEAMBOATS BUILT-
MORE MANUFACTORIES ESTABLISHED.
In the spring ot 1850, S. S. Robv made his
advent, following mercantile pursuits almost
continuously to the present time.
Soon after the organization of the town, Mr.
Roby was elected its treasurer, a position
which he filled acceptably until honors became
a burden.
A large dredge-boat built here during the
past spring and winter was put in commission
early in the season by the State, and engaged
in dredging the Upper Fox River.
June 25, of this year, the Hon. John
Potter became a resident and hung out his
shingle as attorney and counselor, where he
resided until the time  of his death, which i
occurred".in January, 1879.  Honors were
lavishly bestowed upon him, having filled the
office of Justice of the Peace continuously
since 1851 with the exception of one term.
that of village clerk many years, supervisor
of the town, chairman of the Town Board of
Supervisors and by virtue of which he became a
member of the County Board.   He was also
twice elected Member of Assembly, from the
Second District of Winnebago County.
Charles Roeser opened a grocery store this
this year on Tayco Street, near the canal.
The steamboat John Mitchel was built here
this year, by Captain James Harris, and was
the first steamboat to make the passage of the
Upper Fox River to Fort Winnebago, which
she accomplished in the spring of I85I.
Ira C. Eldridge also, located here and at
once, with his sons, established the first furni-
ture factory, and after a long and laborious
life, has at last yielded to nature's call, even
while these lines are being penned.
Late in the fall, E. D. Smith and J. B.
Doane opened a general store a short distance
West of Tayco Street, fronting on the street
running along the north bank of the canal.
A pail and tub factory commenced the past
winter, was put in operation by Beckwith,
Sanford and Billings, and, connected with this
enterprise, we find a relic which we quote here
verbatim:
MENASHA, JUNE 19, 1850.
For value on demand, we jointly and severally promise to
pay Marsena Temple, or bearer, one hundred and fifty dollars,
to be paid in one year from date, with interest at fifty per cent.
per annum, until paid. [Signed] NIAHAN BECKWITH.
JOSEPH A. SANFORD.
C. W. BILLINGS.
And this was secured by a mortgage on the
pail factory property, and the residence of one
of the signers.
Joseph Keyes, with his son Abel, erected a
saw-mill, now owned and occupied by Web-
ster & Lawson, after changing hands many
times.
Carlton and Cleveland B. Bachelder located
here, and commenced the construction of a
kiln for burning potter's ware, which they put
in full blast in 1850, obtaining clay from Ohio.
In March 185o, George Cameron, now
residing in Oshkosh, and L. M. Taylor,
engaged in some kind of mercantile enterprise,
whether dry goods, groceries or hardware, we
are not informed, but probably as was usual
in those days, a general stock.
William Smith, better known as " Billy
Smith," came here May ist, and opened a
large stock of clothing, the first establishment
of that kind.  In 1852, he had two very good
frame buildings, one of which he occupied as
a store, when some drunken men in an adjoin-
ing building carelessly set it on fire, and Smith's
worldly effects were all involved in the general
28
1849-79- ]
217


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