University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Port Washington centennial, 1835 - 1935 : one hundred years of progress
(1935)

The founding of Port Washington,   pp. 3-4


Page 4

Visit of
Abraham Lincoln
At this point it is appropriate to bring in Port
Washington's most famous visitor, Abraham Lin-
coin. Prof. Julius Olson, dean of history, Wiscon-
sin state universary, delved for several years into
arduous research about Lincoln's wanderings after
the death of his sweetheart, Ann Rutledge, and Mr.
Olson has uncovered indisputable records, later
published by him in a booklet, wherein he states
with great positiveness that Lincoln came to Har-
rison's home in 1835 and remained there for some
House where Lincoln stayed on
his visit to Port Washington.
time. The Harrison place was the first structure
reared in the settlement; it is standing today and is
to be seen on upper Pier Street, No. 317, owned by
John Blong; Lincoln's room was the west one story
wing.
Years later during the Civil War, President
Lincoln stopped to chat with a young captain named
Beger. Beger was highly pleased at the attention
shown him. He became more elated when the
President, after learning that Beger hailed from
Port Washington, exclaimed that he knew the
town and had been there many years ago. Lin-
coln and Beger discussed some of the names of
the early residents and when Harrison was men-
tioned, the President exclaimed again and said that
he had slept at the founder's house.
The Reconstruction
After 1837 a new wave of pioneers began to
move westward. Two of them, Aurora Adams and
Asa Case, came to the almost deserted town. Adams
set up a hotel in an empty building. Ti-ere was
need for another hotel because of the increasing
number of travelers. Asa Case built a store near
the beach and stocked it with sugar, coffee, mo-
lasses, tobacco, cheese and also a keg of nails.
These two men and Harrison were the only resi-
dents for nearly five years. But in 1843 a new spirit
developed. Yankees and German and Irish immi-
grants were coming to buy good land.. That same
year saw Harrison with a new company. Orman
Coe, Ira Loomis, Solon Johnson, 0. A. Watrous and
Col. Teall made up the company and speedily went
to work to make permanent improvements. As a
first step, the name was changed. There were two
other towns called Wisconsin City and Harrison
did not want his town to be confused with the oth-
ers. The name "Washington" was suggested and he
agreed. From then on the town was called "Wash-
ington," sometimes with the prefix "Sauk" added.
Sauk Washington was quite an attraction.
Settlers coming in were pleased with the possibili-
ties of a lake port. They admired the layout of the
town in the valley and soon learned that good lands
abounded all around. A ready outlet for any pro-
duce especially cord wood, was afforded by the
sloping beach and the new pier. The pier was used
regularly to disembark new settlers and their goods.
As the pier became used more and more, Sauk
Washington finally changed to Port Washington in
1844 through the energy of George C. Daniels, a
pioneer settler.
Birdseye View of "Old" Port Washington
PAGE FOUR


Go up to Top of Page