University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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

[History of towns],   pp. 230-296 (n) PDF (57.0 MB)

Page 296 (n)

One of the finest business blocks on Kan-
sas street is the corner brick block owned by
Sebastian Ostertag, and in which he conducts
one of the largest grocery and provision stores
in this city.
Mr. Ostertag is one of the earliest settlers in
this county, having emigrated when a child
with his father from Germany to this country
in 1847. In i86i, at the first breaking out of
the war with the South, he enlisted and served
over three years, at which time he was hon-
orably discharged, having been, as was sup-
posed, mortally wounded.  On his recovery
he engaged in the grocery, crockery and pro-
vision business, which he has most successfully
conducted.   He is a very popular dealer,
widely known and highly respected.
One of the most popular dealers in the gro-
cery line is R. E. Bennett, No. 6o Kansas
street, who keeps a finely stocked store, and
does a large business. Mr. Bennett is one of
those who win the esteem of all who know
him, as a man just generous and kind in all his
relations with his fellow man. Through atten-
tion to business, good management and fair
dealing, he has built up a large trade, and has
hosts of friends who wish him success.
The members of this firm are two stirring,
enterprising and sagacious young men, who
are rapidly building up a large trade in the
grocery business, and whose store is one of
the leading ones in that branch. Their store
is largly stocked with a fine assortment of
goods. They make a specialty of field and
garden seeds, including timothy, red-top and
clover, in which they do a large business.
Their place of business is No. 17 Main
The genial and energetic Charley Quinlan
conducts a large grocery business at No. 45
Main Street, where he may be always found
rushing business. He, too, has succeeded in
building up a big trade, and is one of our
most popular dealers.
One of the most tastefully arranged and
neatest stores on the street is Leonard Mayer's
grocery store, No. 49 Main Street. He car-
ries a fine stock of goods, and by honest deal-
ing, close attention to business, and polite
treatment of customers, is rapidly gaining a
widely extended patronage.
The name of John Fitzgerald occupies a
conspicuous place in the history of this
county. No man in the community had
warmer friends, or was more generally
esteemed. He was a man of elegant manners,
of great business ability and achieved much
business success.
At one time he was sole owner of the Wolf
and Fox Rivers and Lake Winnebago Line of
Steamers. He was also a member of the firm
of Kellogg, Fitzgerald & Co., which estab-
lished the first bank of issue in Oshkosh, and
which became subsequently the First National
In 1856, he represented Winnebago County
as Senator in the State Legislature, and was
elected Mayor of Oshkosh in 1861, in which
capacity he served creditably.
In 1862, he was nominated by the Demo-
cratic party for Congress, but declined the
nomination. His sudden and unexpected death
the following winter, filled the community
with profound grief.
Among the early settlers of this county the
name of Colonel Charles Wolcott stands prom-
inent. In 1864, he sold his valuable farm and
purchased the corner of Main and Algoma
Streets, which was shortly after destroyed by
fire. He rebuilt this block three times, it
having been three times consumed by the
flames  He thus contributed largely to the
rebuilding of the city.
In 1865 and i866, the Colonel represented
the Second Ward in the Common Council, and
was one of the leaders in that body. He was
largely instrumental in inaugurating a spirit of
improvement which was highly beneficial to
this city, and was one of the chief advocates
of the proposition to lay the Nicholson pave-
ment on Main Street and for the building of
the present bridge - measures which encoun-
tered very serious opposition at the time, but
which were the beginning of a series of pub-
lic improvements and enterprises, which have
largely benefited the city.
The late Captain John Lynch, whose
untimely, accidental death occasioned a wide-
spread grief, was one of the early settlers of
this county. Commencing as a poor boy in
the capacity of ordinary hand on one of the
Wolf River steamers, he soon rose to the
position of captain, and finally became one of
the chief stockholders in the Wolf River
Transportation Company, and superintendent
of the line.
[ 188o.

Go up to Top of Page