Port Washington centennial, 1835 - 1935 : one hundred years of progress
Historical highlights of "Old" Port Washington, pp. 5-6
Early County Seat In the ten years that followed Port Washington became a thriving settlement. Solon Johnson, a very able man, succeeded Harrison as promoter. Settlers generally were of a high type. often well educated. Col. Teal, one of the best educated of them all, was a close friend of Harrison. He pos- sessed foresight. He saw clearly the need for well laid out roads, connecting Port Washington with other communities. When informal meetings were held it was he who suggested and finally brought forth the first plans for new roads. More import- ant than that, he saw the possibilities of making Port Washington a county seat. Thus Port Wash- ington gained precedence over other towns years later when claims were made for the latter, 'but that fact that already Port Washington was nom- inally a county seat finally resulted in obtaining government confirmation as the county seat. Town Organized A definite need was soon felt for an orderly government, with the advantages accompanying schools, churches, courts and police. A postmaster had been appointed. There was one school. But authority was possessed by everyone and haphazard conditions prevailed. Finally, in the spring of 1846, leaders called a general meeting to assemble at the school house, built a year before. Everybody was there. A clerk was named to keep election records. Solon Johnson, Col. Teal and another person were selected as a board of supervisors. A highway commissioner also was selected. Harrison was elected assessor. Justices and constables were elected and then a school commission was created, 'composed of three' English settlers, Watson, Bates and Young. In the. poll list at this meeting appear many names, some obviously mis-spelled, such as Inger- soll, Anderson, Thomas, Watrey, Allendorf, Schols, Weycher, Micheal, McLean, Schmidt and Bievier. First Charter Thirty-three years later Port Washington form- ed it's city charter and in 1882 was officially in- corporated. In the beginning there was the alder- manic form of government, but in 1917 this was changed to the commission form and this has since been retained. PAGE SIX Coming of the First White Men Here's the record of the first white men to set foot on the site now known as Port Washington, "The Little City of Seven Hills": (The dates are taken from indisputable official records). Menard, 1661-1663. There is a legend that Menard made his first stop at the mouth of Sauk Creek in 1653, but there is no olffcial record. Marquette and Joliet, 1673. Marquette, Pierre Porteret and Jacques, Dec. 19, 1674, stayed 212 days. LaSalle, Hennepin and LaBourda, 1679. Marest, 1698, lived here for one year. Jean Francois Brisson St. Come and Henry de Touty, 1699. Nearly all of the above named were French- Canadian Missionaries. Catholic Church The second church to hold services was the Catholic Church. Three families made up the con- gregation and in 1847 all members gathered in the house of John Gengler where a visiting priest said Mass. Two years later Hiram Johnson, one of the oldest settlers, voluntarily donated the two lots he owned on the North bluff which he thought ideal for a church. In that year the building was completed and three visiting priests alternated in holding regular services. Father F. X. Sailer came to Port Washington as a resident priest in 1853. There were then 25 Catholic families. In 1860 a stone building took the place of the old frame building. Twenty years later plans were begun for the present church which now occupies its imposing position atop St. Mary's Heights. Other Churches Two other churches had early begi~inings in Port Washington. One, the German Methodist, was started in 1852. The other was the German Evangelical Lutheran Church. This church was started in 1853 and had an auspicious beginning because of the work and direction of Jacob Eckel, who was one of the oldest trustees. Today Port Washington has six churches: St. Mary's, St. Ambrose, Congregational, Friedens Evan- gelical, St. John's Lutheran and Grand Avenue Evangelical.
Believed to be in the public domain: published in 1935 with no copyright notice