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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

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


Page 49

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY
49
of whiskey. Joseph Benson worked in Wickham's camp. On July 14, 1850, he is
charged, 'To whiskey at Wickham's, S3.s75"  One 1. J. Gage on settlement of his
account in July, 1847, is credited,-" I barrel whiskey to Whitccmb & Wilson, S25.00.
In the winter of 1846-47 there are several credits in Capt. Wilson's account for
whiskey charged to Whitccmb and Wilson and to Brown and Vance. In 1850
George R. Buckley is charged with whiskey to date, 87.50. In the same year
Andrew Case appears charged each month with about 83.50 for whiskey. In the
day book of 1851-52, Quinn Schav is charged on a certain day, "4 bottles wine,
82.00." A couple of days later he is charged for, "upsetting table and breaking
furniture, 815.00."  William Mullaney is also charged, on this book, with "pint of
brandy. ,SO.75," and soon after for "lying and getting drunk, 85.00."
Mr. Knapp and _Mr. Wilson belonged to separate religious organizations, but
both churches held to the doctrines of "free will" and man's personal moral res-
ponsibilhtv. Here they acted on the principle that the man who drinks to excess
should be held accountable for the result of his actions. There is shown in the
accounts above quoted no disposition to shift the penalty for drunken misdemeanor
from the drinker to the man behind the bar.
Mr. Knapp and Mr. Wilson were when they cane here ardent temperance men
and they continued through life to be consistent advocates of temperance. Soon
after their coming they abolished the custom of rolling out, at the unloading of the
keel boat at each -trip, a cask of liquor for general drinking. But they were men of
great common sense. They saw the rights of others and understood their whole duty
towards and their obligations to those under and about them, and governed their
management of affairs accordingly.
All accounts of early lumbering show that the workmen were as a class hard
drinkers. Lockwood has so described the workmen on this river. The account
books of Black and Knapp show that such were the laborers left here by David
Black, and they also show that the new men hired by Mr. Wilson in June, 1846,
equalled, possibly excelled in deep potations the men that staid.
High as were the personal principles of the Messrs. Knapp and Wilson, deeply
as they deplored some of the conditions existing in the lumber woods, earnestly as
they endeavored to promote temperance, they did not nevertheless attempt to
override, through their authority as employers the habits, customs and appetites of
a class of laborers who, independent and carefree, as all 61d settlers know, would
have snapped their fingers and ranged on to other camps and other mills had their
supposed private right to drink as much liquor as they pleased been forcibly inter-
fered with by an employer.
Knapp and Wilson did succeed in overcoming the adverse business factors en-
countered by them and did establish a successful business. This was primarily
for what they came here. They did not come here as prohibition missionaries nor
as temperance aposties but they are entitled to much credit for what they did
accomplish here in inducing sobriety and correct living.
A4-er 1850 the success of the business established by Mr. Knapp and Mr. Wilson
and afterwards conducted by them is such that the story of its success seems tinged
with romance. Its narrative recital can scarcely be believed to be what it really is,
a veritable historical review.


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