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

Chapter X: the Knapp Stout & Co. company,   pp. 60-70

Page 61

"A search of the records of the state shows that Milwaukee was settled but a
few years earlier, -Madison in 1837, seven years later; Chippewa Falls, 1838, eight
years after; Black River Falls, 1839, nine years later; Hudson, 1841, eleven years
after, and Eau Claire. 1845, fifteen years after. Going outside of the state'it is
found that Chicago had but two families one year after the site of Menomonie was
first occupied;-that St. Paul was not settled until 1838, eight years after permanent
settlement here.
"In the administrative function of the state it is presumed that every person
knows the law. In considering the history of a community, a town or a city it is
assumed that every person knows the history of the place where he resides. We
all know that as a matter of fact the presumption and the assumption are mere
fiction, that there is scant basis of truth for either to stand upon. A decent regard
for the feelings of our fellows constrains us to admit that we all do know the history
of the place in which we live.
"By way of apology, for considering the history of this city at this time, perhaps
it may suffice in connection with the admission that all permanent residents do know
the city history, to suggest that each year ushers in a new generation and each week
strangers are welcomed as permanent settlers, and to call attention to the fact that
no authoritative publication in book form is available for correct information for
the new generations and for the new settlers.
"The books treating of the history of Menomonie are: The History of the
Chippewa Valley, published in Chicago; The History of the Lumber Industry of
Northern XX isconsin, published in Chicago; A Sketch of Menomonie, by Mrs.
Bella French, and an Early History of the Chippewa Valley, written and published
by Thomas E. Randall, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1875; the others are founded
upon it so far as the early history of our city is concerned. All of these books are
grossly inaccurate in statement as to dates, and as to the personal names of pro-
prietors, and as to the relative times of their ownership, and as to the mutual as-
sociation of persons in firms or corporations. Even the writer on Civil War in-
dustries referred to, whose work was published by the Wisconsin Historical Society,
makes the blunder of misnaming the corporation operating here, giving it as "Knapp
Stout and Company." It should have been The Knapp Stout & Co. Company.
Again, he antedates the operations of this corporation by laying the stress as to his
statistics at a time some five years prior to its organization. He refers to 1873 and
this corporation was not organized until 1878.
The matter of a name of a corporation is not a trivial thing. The exact name
of a corporation stands to it in the same stead as does the baptismal name of a per-
son. The corporation is an entity, a corporate thing, and at its organization the
state stands sponsor for its name. By the name given it, it is known in the law, and
by no other name. The corporation operating here was named The Knapp Stout &
Co. Company. When a part or parts of this name are eliminated through careless-
ness its identity is lost. It may not legally contract in a shorter name and it cannot
be successfully prosecuted in such shorter name in a civil or a criminal tribunal of the
"Of all of the early settlements in this state this settlement has probably the
most complete original record evidence of its initial time of commencement and of
the precise local place of its beginning. Its first step and all subsequent steps are
authenticated, by either the written statement of some one who participated in the
events constituting the step, by files or records of the transactions of the step in
some court of record of the state, by the extant original instruments attesting
transfers or agreements as to transfers of the site or by preserved daily original
business entries in business books kept from 1846 continuously to the recent close
of the active affairs of the corporation that finally took over and continued the
business enterprise here. Any one certain fact inour history may be evidenced
by more than one of these testimonies.
"Such being the available material it would seem to be our duty to correct rather
than by inaction help to perpetuate the errors that outside narrators have engraf ted
upon our local history. It were well that some "Truthful James" enter the field

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