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

Chapter XXII: biographical,   pp. 247-958

Page 251

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY                         251
when the proposition wc s being considered for the holding of a great exposition in
Milwaukee for the celebration of the semi-centennial of Wisconsin's statehood in
1898, he was one of the prominent men of the state who stood ready to give of their
money and time to make it a success. The preliminary Committee of One Hundred,
composed of representative citizens of all parts of Wisconsin, chose him as director
general of the exposition. Though the project was abandoned because certain
localities and interests stood out for another form of celebration at the state capital,
MWr. Stout's state patriotism was strikingly demonstrated in that connection. As,
a local benefit and to promote the good roads cause throughout the state, he caused
to be laid at Menomonie, at an expense of several thousand dollars to himself, a
model road which is today an object lesson of progress in that line. For a number
of years prior to 1903 he was a member of the Board of Regents of the University
of Wisconsin serving for a time as vice-president of the board. He served as a
member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Historical Library Building,
created by the laws of 1895, and was made its president. He was a member of the
Executive committee of the State Forestry association. In 1895 the legislature
passed a law under which the Wisconsin Free Library commission was organized,-
and he was made the president of that body. He was elected president of the West
Wisconsin Library association, organized in 1898. In 1903 he was a member of the
Joint Committee on Forestry and Lumber of the legislature, and the same year was
appointed a member of the State Board of Managers for the St. Louis Exposition.
At the time of his death Mr. Stout was a member of the State Conservation com-
mission, a position for which he was selected because of his well known sympathy.
with the new movement for the conservation of resources and his special knowledge
of conditions bearing upon that problem. His knowledge of navigation brought him
often in contact, while he was active in the lumber business on the Mississippi,
with the United States Board of Steamship Navigation, and he was for years a mem-
ber of its Executive committee. Probably no other citizen of Wisconsin during the..
last decade and a half of his life was appointed on more delegations to represent
the state at important national gatherings than was Mr. Stout. In the fall of 1909
he attended in that capacity the National Conservation Congress held in St. Paul,
and the National Irrigation Congress at Pueblo. These things but serve to illus-
trate the honors Mr. Stout cared to accept and the character of his public service.
His utter lack of political ambition is shown by his refusal to consider proffered
and substantial support for the offices of governor and even United States senator..
In a local way his benefactions were many, and his influence extended to every
branch of civic improvement. To his last days he had in mind many projects for
the improvement of conditions pertaining to his home city and county that only
awaited the co-operation of his fellow citizens. He was one of the originators of
the idea of establishing a county asylum in Dunn County and served for years as
a member of its Board of Trustees, helping to make it one of the best in the state.
He was a strong supporter of the development of a park and boulevard area for
lenomonie, and a few years before his death, at his own expense, he had Warren
H. M\Ianning of Boston lay out a comprehensive plan to that end, and he assisted
materially in work done in accordance with that plan. In or about the year 1896
he gave to Dunn County the first county system of traveling libraries in the state,
consisting of 35 collections, and he maintained these libraries until the time of his
death. He was also a liberal supporter of the state traveling library system , and
was one of the trustees of the Mabel Tainter Memorial, with its fine free library.
He was also a life member of the Dubuque Library, and a life trustee of the Finley
Hospital at Dubuque, both of which institutions he materially benefited. An offer
of the building and equipment of a model consolidated rural school to be located
near Menomonie was one of his latest expressions of interest in general educational
advancement. Mr. Stout was always a great believer in co-operation, and his
patience in waiting for the general app~roval of cherished plans for the public welfare
was regarded by his friends as remarkable. But, possessed of unusual foresight,
he was able to look far ahead where others viewed but the immediate future, and
having his own plans thoroughly formulated and being convinced that they were

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