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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 64

third interest in the business to Andrew Tainter, and a new set of books were
opened in the firm name of Knapp and Tainter. Knapp and Tainter sold within
the next three years interests in the business to B. B. Downs and Henry L. Stout.
"To give a summary of the successive steps in this four-part partnership,-
first, Mr. Knapp sold to B. B. Downs a one-twentieth interest; second, Mr. Stout
bought the interest of Downs, whereupon Tainter sold to Stout a one-twelfth of the
whole property and Mr. Knapp sold to him seven-sixteenths of the whole business.
This gave Mr. Stout a one-fourth interest.
"The new and old owners formed a co-partnership as of August 20, 1853, based
on an inventory of an estimated value at S70,000, to be known as Knapp, Stout &
Company.    The apportionment of interests made on the books shows Knapp,
one-half, Tainter one-quarter, Stout one-fifth, and Downs one-twentieth. It will
be borne in mind that William Wilson's interest is here included in Mr. Knapp's
one-half. In 1854 Knapp sold to Thomas B. Wilson a one-fourth interest in the
business with the agreement that the firm name should remain as then fixed.
Downs, in the same year, sold his interest to Stout, thus reducing the number of
partners to four, each h'v-ing a one-fourth interest. But, in fact, the interest of
William Wilson was carried in the one-fourth part of Thomas B. Wilson, he making
a declaration of trust showing his father's interest in his share.
"This somewhat circumstantial and detailed account of the organization of
the firm of Knapp, Stout & Company is given in the hope that it may correct some
of the whimsical and unsatisfactory statements which have appeared in histories
of the Chippewa Valley and have been written into the biographies of the deceased
members of this firm.
"The private papers and the private records of the last line of owners showing
the establishment of their business and the successive firm names of their enterprise
have been put in my hands and I have used them, in connection with information
found in the public records of Crawford and Dunn counties, in an earnest endeavor
to give a correct statement of events, leading from the first settlement here up to
the permanent organization of the lumber company as a corporation.
"An investigation will show a certain parallelism of continuous advancement in
business and in social development. The temporary logging camp had a force of
men, only, independent and self-reliant, unrestrained, save at times of actual work;
a somewhat permanent camp was attended with a self regulated hamlet; a more
permanent camp with a politically organized town government and a permanent
corporate organized business became seated in a civic organized city.
"After the formation of the partnership company Mr. Knapp sold to John H.
Douglass an interest and there were then six members of the firm although record
title appeared in only five members. These later members were John H. Knapp,
William Wilson, Andrew Tainter, Henry L. Stout, Thomas B. Wilson and John H.
Douglass, named in the order in which their repective interests were taken. These
men, at first some of them as a group and later all of them as a group, conducted
business under the firm name of Knapp, Stout & Company from August 20, 1853,
until March 16, 1878. On June 1, 1878, they formally transferred their firm and
individual interests to a corporation organized by them.
"In order to preserve, as nearly as the law would permit, the old firm name
under which they had done business there was prefixed to such old name the word
'The,' and affixed thereto the word'Company', making the name of the corporation
'The Knapp Stout & Co. Company.'
The capital stock of the corporation was fixed at 82,000,000. John H. Knapp
was made president; Andrew Tainter, vice president; Thomas B. Wilson, secretary;
and John H. Douglas, treasurer. Of these men, William Wilson, John H. Knapp.
Andrew Tainter and Thomas B. Wilson activelv identified with the history of
Menomonie as residents here. Henry L. Stout was a prominent resident of Du-
buque and ended his days there. John H. Douglas moved from Dubuque to St.
Louis and ended his days there. John Knapp. son of John H. Knapp, became a stock-
holder in the corporation, and soon afterward Peter E. Wilson, eldest son of Thomas
B. Wilson, and William W. Cassidy of Read's Landing, also became stockholders.

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