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Harney, Richard J. / History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest

City of Menasha,   pp. 215-229 PDF (10.6 MB)

Page 216

the present limits of the town.  This was a
private school, taught by Miss Hettie Frost,
the pupils, "as in duty bound," each bringing
their mite to the extent of one shilling per
week as tuition fee. This building has a long
unwritten historical record of the early day
which we are compelled to omit for want of
* The firstdivine services wasconducted during.
the fall, in the log tavern, by Rev. 0. P.
Clinton, the bar and sitting room being
thrown open for the occasion.  During the
services several persons came into the bar
room for spiritual consolation of a different
order; such as they had heretofore sought
every day in the week, and probably had
never been so disappointed.  Mr. Clinton
noticing their anxiety, gave them a lesson of
patience and self-denial, by extending his
discourse to an unusual length.
A Lyceum was organized during the winter,
at what has ever since been known as the
Menasha House, commenced in the fall of
1848, by H. C. Tate, occupied during the
winter and completed in the spring of 1849,
the first frame hotel in the place. At this first
meeting of the Lyceum, Jeremiah Hunt was
elected President. This, so far as now known,
was the initial point of Jeremiah's political
During the fall of 1848, the Rev. 0. P.
Clinton moved to his present residence on the
In 1 849, the census of Menasha was increased
by the arrival of A. D. Page, S. L. Hart, Ed
O'Connell, Wm. Hughes, Henry Axtel, Abel
Keyes, L. A. Donaldson, Lyman Fargo, Jos.
W. Thombs, J A. Sanford, W. P. Rounds,
and Ed. Decker. This year the first mill was
commenced, a sawmill on the north side of the
dam, built by Cornelius Northrop and Harri-
son Reed, completed 1850.
The village having been surveyed and
platted, the first plat recorded was on the 28th
day of May, 1849, Charles Doty, proprietor.
The hotel now standing on the north side of
the public square, was commenced this year
by Ed. Decker and Henry Axtel, completed
the next year, and called the Decker House.
The first birth within the little settlement
was that of Lydia M. Hunt, a daughter of
Jeremiah Hunt, February 22, 1849.
The following July, a family by the nameof
McCollum, was increased in numbers by the
birth of a daugher, who was named Menasha.
The first death also occurred in the same fam-
ily, in May, 1849, that of Fannie McCollum.
During this year occurred the memorable
strife between the proprietors of the north and
south sides for the location of the State canal,
which was to connect the navigable waters of
Lake Winnebago and Buttes des Morts. Har-
vey Jones, as one of the proprietors of Nee-
nah, offering to complete the work without
expense to the State in consideration of its
location on that side, while Curtis Reed, in
behalf of the proprietors of the. Menasha inter-
est, made the same offer with the further
inducement of $5,000 to be expended in
repairs of canal, locks and dams, as it became
During the year Mr. Reed's offer was
accepted, and the work commenced.  It has
been stated as a matter of "history and inter-
est, fully appreciated by early settlers, that
Mr. Reed not only failed to pay the $5,000,
but by some sharp management, afterward
received pay for the work done, all of which
had been offered as a free gift."
This is unqualifiedly false, as the records
fully show. In 1853, the entire improvement
was turned over by the State to a company, as
is well known. At the request of the company,
Mr. Reed's contract was relinquished. Mr.
Reed had originally contracted with the State
to construct a canal sixty feet wide on the bot-
tom, and a lock thirty. five feet wide by one
hundred and thirty feet in length.  At a later
date the State enlarged the plan of the canal to
one hundred feet width on the bottom, and
the lock to one hundred and sixtv feet in length.
Much of this additional excavation had been
completed by Mr. Reed, which was to be
deducted from the $5,000, or paid for. And
now comes the Improvement Company to set-
tle with Mr. Reed, in place of the State. In
lieu of the balance of the labor and the $5,000,
Mr. Reed and his associates conveyed the right
of way for the canal, which had before only
been conveyed by implication, and transferred
the dam, reserving the right to all surplus
water for hydraulic purposes which they had
never parted with, and the right to which had
never been disputed by the State or the com-
John McCune engaged in trade this sea-
son, 1849, with a stock of general merchandise.

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