The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Wisconsin Magazine of History, Volume 1, 1917-1918

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Title: The Wisconsin Magazine of History, Volume 1, 1917-1918

Author: Various

Editor: Milo Milton Quaife

Release date: May 18, 2018 [eBook #57176]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Larry B. Harrison, Carol Brown and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


VOL. I 1917-1918


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Edited by




Milo M. Quaife—Increase Allen Lapham, First Scholar of Wisconsin 3
John L. Bracklin—A Forest Fire in Northern Wisconsin 16
Louise P. Kellogg—Bankers’ Aid in 1861-62 25
Carl Russell Fish—The Frontier a World Problem 121
George Manierre—Early Recollections of Lake Geneva 142
Ole. K. Nattestad and Rasmus B. Anderson—Description of a Journey to North America 149
Cordelia A. P. Harvey—A Wisconsin Woman’s Picture of President Lincoln 233
Sipko F. Rederus—The Dutch Settlements of Sheboygan County 256
Lucius G. Fisher—Pioneer Recollections of Beloit and Southern Wisconsin 266
Charles A. Ingraham—Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth: First Hero of the Civil War 349
Charles Giessing—Where Is the German Fatherland? 375
Louise P. Kellogg—The Paul Revere Print of the Boston Massacre 377
The Dairy of Harvey Reid: Kept at Madison in the Spring of 1861 35
The Chicago Treaty of 1833: Charges Preferred Against George B. Porter: Letter from George B. Porter to President Andrew Jackson 287
Some Letters of Paul O. Husting Concerning the Present Crisis 388
Wisconsin’s First Versifiers; Memorandum on the Spelling of “Jolliet”; The First Edition of the Zenger Trial, 1736; A Novel Transportation Device 64
The Disputed Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary; An Early Wisconsin Play 304
The Beginnings of Milwaukee; The Senatorial Election of 1869; “Koshkonong” and “Man Eater”; The Alien Suffrage Provision in the Constitution of Wisconsin 417
Introducing Ourselves; Our State Flag; The Society and the Legislature; Nelson Dewey Park and the First Wisconsin Capitol; Perrot State Park and John A. Latsch; Forest Fires, Generally and in Particular; Consolation for the Present Crisis 75
History Repeats Itself; Our Military Record; What of the Future; An Appreciation and a Suggestion; Cannon Fodder 187
The Professor and the Finger Bowl; The Printing of Historical Publications; Is War Becoming More Horrible; Some Leaves from the Past; The Development of Humanitarianism; Other Agencies; Some Facts and Figures; Bravery Then and Now; Schrecklichkeit 309
Increase A. Lapham and the German Air Raids; Save the Relics; The Newspapers; Removing the Papacy to Chicago 426
The Oldest Church in Wisconsin; The First Mills in the Fox River Valley; Colonel Ellsworth’s Madison Career; The Story of “Glory of the Morning”; The Odanah Indian Reservation; First Exploration of Eastern Wisconsin; A Community Changes Its Name; How the Apostle Islands Were Named; The Services of the Menominee in the Black Hawk War 87
Daniel Webster’s Wisconsin Investments; Names Proposed for a New Town; Origin of the Word “Winnequah”; The Discovery of Lake Superior; The Potawatomi During the Revolution; Father Allouez Among the Kickapoo; The Indian Tribes of Iowa 193
The First Settler of Baraboo; The Chippewa River During the French and British Régimes; The Career of Colonel G. W. Manypenny; Treaty Hall and Old La Pointe 319
Old Copperheads and New; A Presbyterian Objects 202
More Light on the Originator of “Winnequah”; A History of Our State Flag 327
“Camouflage” and “Eatless Days” Two Hundred Years Ago; Daniel Webster’s Wisconsin Investments 432
The Society and the State 101, 206, 330, 435
Some Publications 111, 221, 340, 445
Some Wisconsin Public Documents 210, 337
The Wider Field 449
Frontispiece: INCREASE A. LAPHAM




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Edited by




Increase Allen Lapham, First Scholar of Wisconsin Milo M. Quaife 3
A Forest Fire in Northern Wisconsin John L. Bracklin16
Bankers’ Aid in 1861-62 Louise P. Kellogg25
The Diary of Harvey Reid: Kept at Madison in the Spring of 1861 35
Historical Fragments:
Wisconsin’s First Versifiers; Memorandum on the Spelling of “Jolliet”; The First Edition of the Zenger Trial, 1736; A Novel Transportation Device 64
Introducing Ourselves; Our State Flag; The Society and the Legislature; Nelson Dewey Park and the First Wisconsin Capitol; Perrot State Park and John A. Latsch; Forest Fires, Generally and in Particular; Consolation for the Present Crisis 75
Question Box:
The Oldest Church in Wisconsin; The First Mills in the Fox River Valley; Colonel Ellsworth’s Madison Career; The Story of “Glory of the Morning”; The Odanah Indian Reservation; First Exploration of Eastern Wisconsin; A Community Changes Its Name; How the Apostle Islands Were Named; The Services of the Menominee in the Black Hawk War 87
Survey of Historical Activities:
The Society and the State; Some Publications 101

Copyright, 1917, by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Pg 3


By Milo M. Quaife

The most characteristic and comprehensive theme in all American history is that of the westward movement. From the time of the first feeble landings at Quebec, at Plymouth, and at Jamestown, the history of our country has been characterized by a steady westward surge of the population, reaching out eagerly for new lands to conquer, and in the process carrying the banner of civilization ever westward and establishing successive new communities and states. The present generation of students of American history has not been unmindful of the importance and interest which attaches to this westward movement, and has not failed to accord it, in the main, all due recognition. With the doings and deserts of our pioneer farm, canal, railroad, and city builders, our hewers of wood and drawers of water, in a word, historians have long made us familiar. Unfortunately, however, too little attention has been given, and too little recognition accorded, the equally important service of those among our western pioneers who laid the foundations of our spiritual and intellectual civilization. That man may not live by bread alone was stated long ago on excellent authority. The hewing down of the forests and breaking of the prairies, the building of houses, highways, and cities were all essential steps in the process of transforming the wilderness into an abode of enlightened civilization. Equally essential was the establishment of institutions of learning and religion, and the development of a taste for literature and art. The blossoming of these finer fruits of civilization inevitably tended to sweeten and refine the society of the pioneers, which otherwise, Pg 4 engrossed in a stern physical struggle with the wilderness, must have become hard and gross in character.

Fortunate indeed is the pioneer community which numbers among its settlers intellectual and spiritual leaders fired with enthusiasm and endowed with ability. Fortunate it was for Wisconsin when in the very year of her birth as a territory, Increase Allen Lapham cast his lot for the remainder of his life with her. The service rendered by the intellectual aristocracy of pioneer Massachusetts and the other New England colonies has long been accorded ample recognition. The valiant labors of Increase Lapham in the service of the state of his adoption have largely gone unheeded and unrewarded to the present moment. Yet it is safe to predict that when the future historian shall come to scan the record of the first half century of Wisconsin’s history as a territory and state, he will affirm that no man brought greater honor to her or performed more valuable services in her behalf than did the modest scholar, Increase Allen Lapham.

The frontier has ever been proud of its self-made men, esteeming chiefly, not who a man might be but rather what he was able to do. Lapham was a true frontiersman in this respect at least, that he was a wholly self-made scholar. He was born in March, 1811, at Palmyra, New York, “two miles west of the Macedon locks on the Erie Canal.” His father, Seneca Lapham, was an engineering contractor, the pursuit of whose profession necessitated frequent family removals. Thus, in 1818 the family was located at Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where the father was employed on the Schuylkill Canal; two years later he was back on the Erie Canal and the family was residing for a second time at Galen, New York; the next few years witnessed further removals to Rochester and Lockport in New York, and to several points in Ohio.

The boy, Increase Lapham, was evidently a precocious youth. At thirteen years of age he “found frequent sale” Pg 5 for his drawings of the plan of the locks his father had assisted in constructing at Lockport. About this time he gained employment, first at cutting stone for the locks and then as rodman on the canal. While engaged in stonecutting, he wrote in later years, “I found my first fossils and began my collection. The beautiful specimens I found in the deep rock cut at this place gave me my first ideas of mineralogy and initiated a habit of observation which has continued through all my life. I found amusement and pastime in the study of nature, leading to long walks in the country, and as I found no others of similar tastes these rambles were usually without companions.”

When fifteen years of age the youth followed his father to Ohio where he worked for a short time on the Miami Canal, removing at the close of the year, 1826, to undertake similar employment at Louisville. At this time, apparently, he first attracted the attention of members of the world of scholarship, for we find the renowned scientist, Professor Silliman of Yale, writing to thank him “for the liberal spirit which you manifest in encouraging a work designed to promote the public good”—the work in question being the American Journal of Science, of which Silliman was the founder and editor. Within a few months the boy made his first contribution to scholarship by sending to Silliman, for publication in the American Journal of Science, a comprehensive description of the canal around the Ohio Rapids.

At this time he was only sixteen, and his opportunities for schooling had been exceedingly scant. Yet his habits of observation and his powers of reasoning and of expressing himself in clear and convincing English might well be coveted by the average college undergraduate of today. A convenient illustration of these powers is afforded by Lapham’s journal entry for October 24. 1827:

A smoky day. Mr. Henry, the engineer [of the canal], is of the opinion that the smoke occasioning our Indian summer, as the smoky weather is called, does not originate in the burning prairies in the West, Pg 6 or in other extensive fires; but that it is from the decay of vegetation. (If it is possible for vegetables to be converted into smoke without combustion this will appear very probable!!!!)

He relates an instance of a very smoky day at New Madrid being followed by an earthquake; this he supposed to be the smoke that had arisen through the ground. I told him that I supposed it was owing to a peculiar state of the atmosphere which was unfavorable to the decomposition of smoke; to this he made no reply.

The years of Lapham’s youth and early manhood from 1827-36 must be passed in rapid review. Two years in all were spent on canal work at Louisville; over three more followed at Portsmouth, Ohio; in April, 1833, the Ohio State Board of Canal Commissioners installed the young engineer (now twenty-two years of age) as its secretary at an annual salary of $400. Thereafter for three years his headquarters were in the state capitol at Columbus, his work being that of secretary of the canal commission. Meanwhile the elder Lapham, advised and financially assisted by his sons, Darius and Increase, had abandoned the calling of canal contractor and settled upon a farm near Mount Tabor. This became the permanent family home, and here Seneca Lapham acquired a well-deserved repute among his fellows both for his sobriety of character and for his progressive ideas and practices with respect to farming operations. In the years under review Increase Lapham continued to pursue with enthusiasm his scientific studies and investigations, the range of his interests and observations widening with every passing year. Relations of acquaintance and friendship were established with a large number of scientific investigators, all of them, doubtless, much older than was Lapham himself. The study of botany and zoölogy, and investigations with respect to more scientific methods of farming were begun. In a communication on “Agriculture in Ohio,” contributed to the Genesee Farmer in 1833, the modern doctrine with respect to rotation of crops and scientific renovation of the soil through the use of fertilizers was laid down. A third of a century later, but still over a third of a century in Pg 7 advance of the recent movement for the conservation of the natural resources of the country, Lapham followed up this general line of thought by writing and publishing as a Wisconsin legislative document a comprehensive argument in favor of the conservation of the state’s forest resources. Happy had it been for both state and nation if heed had been given in time to the vital problem to which he thus early called attention.

To a practical application of the Jacksonian theory of spoils politics was due the migration of Lapham from the capital of Ohio to the new-born town of Milwaukee in the spring of 1836. In later years he humorously explained that he was “reformed” out of office and employment in Ohio; at the time, there is reason to believe, the blow was not considered in a humorous light. Early in his canal career Lapham had worked under Byron Kilbourn, who now had thrown in his fortunes with the rising young village of Milwaukee. As a leading promoter of the coming metropolis Kilbourn had extensive business projects in view, among them that of procuring the construction of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal, which would, it was fondly believed, go far toward realizing for the nascent city her dreams of metropolitan greatness. There was much demand for men possessed of engineering ability, and Kilbourn, who had conceived a friendship for Lapham which was to prove lifelong, now brought him to Wisconsin on a salary of $1,000 a year. Thus Wisconsin became his permanent home, for he left Milwaukee only to remove in old age to a farm near Oconomowoc.

At the mouth of the Milwaukee River Lapham found, on his arrival on July 3, 1836, fifty houses where a few months before had been but two or three. In coming from the older settled portion of Ohio to Milwaukee he had entered a new world. Chicago was still in the height of its first mad speculative boom and conditions at Milwaukee differed only Pg 8 in detail from those which prevailed at Chicago. Indeed, on reaching Detroit on his westward journey, Lapham wrote to his brother: “I am now, and have been since I arrived at Sandusky, in what might very properly be called the world of speculators: everybody you meet is engaged in some speculation; everything you hear has some speculation at the bottom. The hotel where I am now writing has suspended on the walls of the barroom plats of new towns; I have added the ninth.” No wonder the impecunious young man, engulfed in such an atmosphere, proceeded, immediately upon his arrival at Milwaukee, to purchase three town lots for $5,000, payable “one-half in one one-half in two years.” How did he expect to provide the money to meet this obligation? He did not expect to provide it; he “bought them for the purpose of selling them again at a higher price.”

Lapham, however, was never designed for a business man, and he never acquired more than a very modest competence in life. I have spoken of the speculative mania which then pervaded all the newer West merely to illustrate the sincerity of the young immigrant’s devotion to scholarship, from the pursuit of which even the thrill and intoxication of perhaps the greatest boom the country has ever witnessed could detain him only momentarily. Within two weeks of his arrival at Milwaukee he records that he has made a map of the county (possibly a professional matter) and “done a little botanizing.” Even earlier, while at Detroit en route to the West, he had taken time to write Professor Asa Gray an offer to collect for him specimens from the new region to which the writer was going. “Let me entreat you to pay particular attention to my pets, the grasses,” wrote the noted botanist in reply; “I will see that you have due credit for every interesting discovery.” Six weeks after his arrival at Milwaukee Lapham wrote to another botanical friend that he found many new plants at Milwaukee; and that “in order to inform my friends of what plants are found here and to Pg 9 enable them to indicate such as they want I think of publishing a catalogue of such as I find.”

Thus was conceived the idea responsible for the first publication of a scientific character within the bounds of the present state of Wisconsin, for before the close of the year there issued from the office of Milwaukee’s newly founded newspaper a Catalogue of Plants and Shells, Found in the Vicinity of Milwaukee, on the West Side of Lake Michigan, by I. A. Lapham. It would probably be safe to affirm that this was the first scientific work to be published west of the Great Lakes, at least to the north of St. Louis. For in literary matters Chicago, whose commercial progress Milwaukee never succeeded in equalling, must yield the palm of leadership to her early North Shore rival. Leaving out of consideration one or two lyceum lectures which were printed after delivery, the earliest Chicago imprint of a scholarly character of which I have any knowledge is Mrs. Kinzie’s well-known story of the Chicago massacre, published as a pamphlet in 1844; and this, a reminiscent family narrative, does not deserve to be regarded as scholarly in the true sense of the term.

In 1838, two years after his arrival, Lapham began the collection of material for a gazeteer of Wisconsin. Published at Milwaukee in 1844, it constitutes both Wisconsin’s first book of history and the state’s first home-made book of any character to be published in more durable binding than paper. So attractive were its merits that an unscrupulous rival author, Donald McLeod, more adept at wielding the scissors than the pen, promptly and brazenly plagiarized a large portion of its contents for his History of Wiskonsan, published, appropriately enough, by “Steele’s Press” at Buffalo, in 1846: and a copy of this fraudulent publication was recently offered for sale by a dealer, with due encomiums upon its rarity and worth, for the modest sum of thirty dollars.

Pg 10 Thus far we have followed Lapham’s career in due chronological order. Some thirty years were yet to elapse before his death in 1875, years crowded with earnest, self-effacing labors in the cause of scholarship. In what follows I shall treat of his various scholarly interests and achievements in topical order, without regard to chronology.

Although himself self-taught Lapham’s active interest in educational institutions persisted throughout his life. In 1843 he secured the adoption by the territorial legislature of a resolution to Congress petitioning a grant of land for the purpose of establishing in Wisconsin an institution for the instruction of the deaf and dumb, and blind, and an asylum for the insane. He is the real father of the Milwaukee public high school system. In 1846 he donated thirteen acres of land lying within the city limits for the purpose of establishing the first high school. In the spring of 1848 he was commissioned by the city as its agent to secure a loan of $16,000 in the East for the building of schoolhouses, and he made the long trip to New York and Boston on this public mission. In the same year he proffered the newly authorized University of Wisconsin the gift of “a pretty extensive herbarium” of 1,000 or 1,500 species of plants. In March, 1848, by a meeting of citizens held at the council house “it was deemed expedient to establish a college in this city” and an executive committee of five townsmen was appointed with full power to consummate the desired object. Lapham was one of the five men charged with this weighty responsibility, and out of this movement proceeded the “Milwaukee Female Seminary,” which today is represented by the Milwaukee-Downer College, one of the state’s noble institutions of higher learning. In August, 1850, as president of the executive board of the college, Lapham had the satisfaction of delivering to its first two graduates their diplomas. When, in later years, he was offered a professorship in the school he declined the position, modestly explaining that his Pg 11 lack of education and of teaching experience rendered him unfit to discharge the trust.

With our own State Historical Society his connection was long and honorable. Before coming to Wisconsin he had actively engaged in the work of the Ohio Historical and Philosophical Society. He hailed with joy the formation of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1849 and was one of the committee of three which drafted its first constitution. The society being formally organized, he at once began to labor to promote its collections. He served as its vice-president for twelve years, and as president for ten additional years. With the Smithsonian Institution he established relations of mutual helpfulness almost immediately upon its organization. Of his relations with this and other learned institutions more will be said in connection with certain lines of investigation which he carried on.

In 1849 Dr. Lapham proposed to the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, Massachusetts, to make an extensive survey of the mounds and other ancient remains in Wisconsin provided the society would defray the actual outlay of money involved. The enterprise thus proposed was adopted by the Antiquarian Society, as a result of which the survey was made, the fruits of it being given to the scientific world a few years later in Lapham’s Antiquities of Wisconsin. This work, published under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, is filled with the author’s drawings, beautifully executed, of the numerous earthworks and mounds he had located. Students of American archeology will always owe the patient author a heavy debt of gratitude for having carefully plotted and described these evidences of aboriginal habitation in Wisconsin before the work of destruction which inevitably attended the advance of white settlement had gained much headway.

Thus in many departments of learning—in geology, botany, conchology, in meteorology, history, and archeology—Lapham Pg 12 busied himself, acquiring repute among the scholars of Europe as in America, all the while earning his simple living by such professional work as he permitted himself the time to do. Perhaps no single achievement of his possesses more of interest to the world in general or has directly added more to the well-being and comfort of every one of us than his work in securing the establishment of a weather-service bureau by the national government. It cannot be claimed that he fathered the idea of such a service and its attendant possibility of foretelling weather conditions far enough in advance to make the information of real commercial value. Neither can Robert Fulton be credited with having fathered the idea of the steamboat. Yet we rightly regard Fulton as its real inventor, since he was the first to demonstrate the practicability of the idea. So with Lapham and the weather bureau. For twenty years he urged upon the Smithsonian Institution, the Wisconsin legislature, and other agencies of society the practicability and the immense advantage of such a government service. For twenty years, as a private individual he made records and observations, seeking to demonstrate his claims. But in the nature of the case (as Lapham repeatedly pointed out) only some powerful agency like the national government could take the many observations at different points necessary to the success of the work, assemble their results, and make them known throughout the nation in time to be of practical use to the public. Finally, the persistent seeker after the public good succeeded in attracting the notice of men powerful enough to compel the attention of Congress. As a result the law for the incorporation of the signal service was passed. How the result was achieved by Lapham may best be told in the words of a man to whom he had appealed for assistance. At the meeting of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, held in New York in April, 1875, a resolution to appoint a special committee to correspond with the United States Signal Service Department in Pg 13 relation to wind as an element in fire risks was under consideration when Hon. E. D. Holton rose and said:

There is a little man who lives in my town about so high (holding his hand a little lower than his shoulders) who lives in an obscure part of the town, and is known to comparatively few people in the town. You go to his house and find it filled with all the evidences of science, specimens from the vegetable world and the mineral world. Going to London a few years ago I was given by this little man a letter of introduction to Sir William Hooker, custodian of the Kew Gardens, which secured for me eminent entertainment and influence. Five years ago as I was about to leave my house to go to Richmond, Virginia, to attend a meeting of the National Board of Trade, he came to my house and had a resolution drawn to be submitted to the National Board of Trade, declaring that the national government should organize a service to look after the winds of the continent of America.

When I came to Richmond I presented that resolution. It received a most eloquent second from the late General Wolbridge, an eminent citizen of New York. The National Board of Trade immediately passed the resolution. As soon as it was passed I sent it to my friend, General Paine, then member of Congress from my district in Wisconsin, and in an incredibly short space of time for that august body—which is supposed to have at least as much red tape as the National Insurance Company—it was passed. I did not expect that the wind question would meet me at this angle of the insurance trade, but it seems it has.

That gentleman I will name. I rise to make these remarks and I wish to speak his name in this connection, because out of his labors so persistent, in his humble house, so unknown to his countrymen—for he is better known in foreign circles of science than in his own country—and through his labors and instrumentality, this thing has been brought into its present shape. His name is Dr. Increase Allen Lapham of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

And how, it may be asked, did Lapham’s fellow-men requite his lifelong labors devoted to the public good? The answer which must be made affords much support to the proverbial belief in the ungratefulness of republics. When in 1870 Congress passed the bill providing for the weather-signal service, its execution was entrusted to the chief signal officer of the army. By him Lapham was employed for a short time as special assistant in the War Department at a yearly salary of $2,000. When he sent home (he was stationed at Chicago) to his daughter the proceeds of his first month’s wages, she wrote to her brother as follows:

Pg 14 Last Friday father sent home $128.03 to be deposited as the first money of any amount he ever received for any scientific occupation (regular salary at least) and Thursday afternoon I was down town and met B. He said he had been around among some of father’s friends and collected $100 to make father a life member of the Chicago Astronomical Society—(You know this society owns the “big telescope” at Dearborn Observatory).

I forbear to quote the daughter’s delighted remarks which follow; more profitable will it be for us to consider for a moment the bitter irony of this situation. After more than forty years of zealous public service to receive so pitiful a salary, his first tangible reward, and to have this discontinued within a few months time! To be fitted both by inherent tastes and lifelong training to enjoy and profit by membership in such an association, and yet unable, because our countrymen estimate the services of scholars so low, to pay the paltry membership fee! Here, indeed, is the cross on which in the United States today we crucify scholarship.

One other matter and I shall conclude. Before he left Ohio Dr. Lapham had labored to induce the legislature to make provision for a geological survey of that state. From the time of his arrival in Wisconsin he strove as an individual to carry out such a survey here. Necessarily in order to do it thoroughly and to publish its results the power of the state must be brought into play. At length in 1873 provision was made by statute for a geological survey of Wisconsin and Governor Washburn appointed Dr. Lapham chief geologist to have the direction of the enterprise. The work was pushed vigorously and efficiently throughout the seasons of 1873 and 1874. Suddenly, in January, 1875, Governor Taylor removed Dr. Lapham in order to make a place for one of his spoils-seeking supporters. According to the American Journal of Science the new geologist’s “sole recommendation for the position was political services, no one having ever heard of him before as acquainted with geology or any other science.” Thus finally did our state requite its first scholar—first Pg 15 certainly from the viewpoint of chronology, and probably first from every other viewpoint. “Knowing that time, which cures all things,” wrote the three assistant geologists he had chosen two years before, “will do you ample justice, and feeling most strongly the irreparable loss that the state has sustained in the disseverment of your connection with the survey, we remain with the most sincere respect, Your obedient servants.” As an indication of the quality of the assistants selected by Dr. Lapham it may be noted that one of the men who thus testified this appreciation of their deposed chief was Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, who has been for many years chief geologist of the University of Chicago.

Time indeed cures all things, notwithstanding that the mills of the gods grind slowly. Of Dr. Lapham’s spoilsman successor as chief geologist of Wisconsin, it may still be said, as at the time of his appointment, that his reputation as a scientist yet remains to be made. Governor Taylor, who made the removal, sleeps in silent Forest Hill within sight of the capitol where formerly he ruled a state; while in the holy of holies of the beautiful new state capitol, the governor’s reception chamber, in the midst of famous soldiers, explorers, and legislators, an eminent artist has chosen to depict the application of scientific knowledge to the benefit of mankind in the person of Doctor Lapham seated at his desk, before him an open manuscript, and on the wall nearby, supported by two children typifying the winds, his map of the United States, showing the first storm traced across the country. More recently still, prompted by the urging of citizens of the locality, the federal government has given to the highest eminence in Waukesha County, overlooking the beautiful lake region which Dr. Lapham so loved in life, the name of Lapham Peak. Time is slowly proving his worth. More fitting memorials than these he could not have asked.

Pg 16


By John L. Bracklin[1]

I had been running a steamboat on Lake Chetak and Birch Lake in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, during the summer of 1898 and had finished my work September 25. I arrived in Rice Lake with the expectation of having a couple of weeks’ rest before again taking up my duties as foreman of one of Knapp, Stout, and Company’s logging camps for the winter. I had been in town one day, about long enough to get cleaned up, when I went down to the company’s office to draw some money. While I was in the general office some one said: “Your father wants to see you in his office.” I walked into his office and sat down. He had a map showing camp locations and other data spread out on the desk before him, which he studied for a few moments and then turned to me, saying: “John, how soon can you get ready to go to the woods?” This, as you know, could have but one answer, and that was, “Now!” “All right,” he said, “I am somewhat alarmed about this long-continued dry spell and fires might spring up at any moment, and none of the camps or dams in your locality have any fire protection, such as back-firing and water-barrels at hand. Therefore I wish you would pick up a few men and whatever you might need and get up to your camp, make your headquarters there, and look after the camps in that vicinity, namely: Mulvaney’s, Aronson’s, Knutson’s, Max Down’s, Thompson’s, and the old Ahern Camp on Sucker Creek.”

Pg 17 I swallowed the disappointment of a contemplated trip to Minneapolis to see the only girl I ever thought very much of, whom I had not seen for about eight months, and stepping over to the shipping clerk’s desk, I wrote up a list of food supplies and a requisition for a team to move the same, expecting to start the following morning. I went out on the street to pick up some men and came across Lee Miller and Frank Wirth, inseparable pals, who had worked for me the previous winter. I asked them how soon they would be ready to go to the woods, and they said, “Right now.” “All right,” said I, “pack your sacks and be here at six in the morning, and we will load the team and go.” While we were talking, another man came along, Julius Peterson by name, a hunchback, who, notwithstanding his deformity, was considered one of the best sawyers that ever felled a tree. He also was willing to start immediately, so I went over to the hotel and wrote the only girl—who, by the way, has been my wife for the past seventeen years—that I would have to defer that visit for another seven or eight months. I got my clothes packed again, and at six-thirty the following morning we were on our way to my camp at the head of Birch Lake, a distance of about thirty miles.

We arrived at Cedar Lake Dam for dinner and at camp about eight o’clock the night of September 27, 1898. We opened the door of the cook-shanty very cautiously, so as not to disturb a family of skunks who yearly took up their abode under the floors of the camps during the summer months. They did not approve of being disturbed, and from past experiences we decided not to make any unnecessary noise, such as moving tables and heavy boxes along the floors, until such time as they might be more accustomed to our presence. We built a fire in the stove and made some coffee, and after what we called a “store-feed,” consisting of cheese, crackers, and sardines, we spread our blankets upon the floor to sleep as only men of that day could. We arose about five-thirty Pg 18 on the morning of the twenty-eighth, had another store-breakfast, unloaded the wagon, and started the team back to town. Then the great question confronted us as to who was to do the cooking. The regular cook for the winter, Herman Gottschalk, could not be had for at least two weeks, as he was cooking for the rafting-crews at Reed’s Landing. Frank Wirth finally agreed to a compromise: he was to do the cooking until such time as the first man should kick and then said man was to cook until someone else should kick, to which we all agreed.

Leaving Wirth at the camp to cook up a regular dinner, Miller, Peterson, and I left for Mulvaney’s Camp to see what condition it would be in, if we had the unexpected fire. We arrived there about ten o’clock and opened up the blacksmith shop, got out empty barrels, cooking utensils, and everything that would hold water, and started Miller out to round up a couple of yokes of cattle. He returned in an hour or so with about ten head. We selected two yokes out of the bunch and, hooking them up to a breaking-plow, plowed about a dozen furrows around the camp, after which we turned them loose. They immediately started off in a westernly direction, which you may call animal instinct if you will, for we afterward found that to be the only possible direction they could have taken and evaded the fire, which unbeknown to us was so soon to follow. We sat down and smoked our pipes and joked about the unnecessary precaution of filling the barrels, as at that time it was one of the prettiest autumn days I have ever seen, not a cloud in the sky, not a breeze stirring, no sign of smoke anywhere, and no possible chance, apparently, of there ever being a fire. Nevertheless, we were carrying out instructions and we set to work to fill up the barrels, which took about an hour.

We had just filled the barrels on the roof of the long barns, when Miller, who was on top of one of the barns, called my attention to a cloud of smoke that had suddenly sprung Pg 19 up on the horizon about five or six miles to the south and west of us. I climbed up on the roof of the barn, where I could get a better view. The wind suddenly arose and within ten minutes it had attained the velocity of a cyclone; what followed happened so quickly it has never as yet been quite clear to me. I can remember the black cloud settling down and in less time than it takes to write this, the fire was upon us—not on the ground as you might imagine, but in the air. The heat became terrific and the first sign of a blaze sprang up in the top of a broken stump about twenty feet in height and a hundred feet from the sleeping-shanty.

I jumped off the roof of the barn, grabbed up a water bucket, Peterson doing the same, and ran for the sleeping-shanty, a distance of about 150 feet. Before we could reach it, it was afire. We threw several buckets of water upon it, but the water might have been kerosene for all the good it did. Seeing it was useless to try to save the sleeping-shanty or the cook-shanty, which were only a few feet apart, we ran back to the barns, thinking to save them. This may sound dubious, but it all happened within twenty minutes of the time we first saw smoke four or five miles away. As quickly as we reached the barn I motioned to Miller to dump the barrels of water which we had placed there; those buildings, if you remember them, were each about sixty feet in length, standing parallel, with a hay shed between, which contained about ten tons of baled hay left over from the previous winter. While Miller ran to the far end of the barn, upsetting the six or seven barrels as he ran, Peterson and I were throwing water on the hay shed. I don’t suppose we had thrown more than ten or twelve buckets when the roof of the barn took fire. As I said before, the fire seemed to be in the very air, for strange as it may seem, the dry grass and leaves around the buildings were not yet burned. In less than a minute the roof was afire from one end to the other. I motioned to Miller to jump off. He did so and ran towards Pg 20 me. When he got near enough so that I could hear, he yelled: “What in hell will we do now, and which way will we go?”

Then for the first time I realized the danger we were in. A glance around showed only one way open and that was due north towards a wall of virgin green timber, a distance of about 500 yards. The ground between us and the edge of the timber had been logged the previous winter, leaving treetops and brush piled up here and there in great heaps—you know how it would look after being logged. How we got to the edge of the timber I can hardly remember, but in the excitement I still had the empty water-bucket in my hand. We reached the timber to find that the fire had beaten us. Perhaps a burning brand from one of the buildings had dropped just at the edge of the timber among the dry leaves and had burned a strip of ground about 200 feet in width, leaving the ground perfectly bare. Luckily for us the timber was green, with no underbrush to hold the fire, for when we reached there, there was nothing left on the ground but the smouldering ashes of the leaves. We stopped to get our breath, and then it dawned upon us how useless it was to run. I said to Miller, “If we ever get out of this, it will be by staying right here.” He gave me one look, which I shall never forget, as much as to say, “Man, you are crazy,” and again started to run, Peterson following. I then turned and looked back whence we had come. There was a solid wall of fire similar to a great wave, extending as far to each side as one could see and mounting fifty feet in height. It is hard to express just what my feelings were, but I remember that I ceased to be afraid, knowing that our time had come, there being not a possible chance to come out alive. The main body of the fire by that time had reached a point about where the camps had stood. I was almost tempted to start to run, when I turned to find Miller and Peterson again at my side. They had run only a short distance into the tail end of the advance fire and had come back. I remember Miller lying on Pg 21 his face on the ground with his head stuck into a hole that he had dug out with his hands. The ground at the roots of the trees was damp, and the only way we could breathe was by lying on the ground, for when we stood up the heat and smoke were so thick we could not breathe.

It is interesting to hear people relate their experiences and close encounters with death. After hearing them, I can judge just how close they really have been to real death. For as I see it, it has four stages—first, the excitement; then fear; then resolution; then death itself. At about this time we had reached the point of resolve; Miller and Peterson were on their knees praying, while as for myself, nothwithstanding I have lived a somewhat better life since, I concluded that as I had never asked God for anything prior to that, it was a very poor time to start in now that I was about to die. So I concluded to go just as I was, believing, as I still do, that a death-bed confession would avail me nothing. You can best realize our position when I tell you that we were never over four feet apart for at least four hours and during that period there was not one word exchanged among us. At the end of that time I was standing leaning up against a tree. Other trees were falling all around us, and as I stood there wishing one might fall on me and end it all, it started to rain. It must have poured, for before I realized what had happened I was wet to the skin. That brought me back to my senses and I realized that I was alive and that I still wanted to live. I ran a short distance and it came to me like a flash that I was going the wrong way to get out. I turned and ran back, and as I ran, stumbled over Peterson, who was still on his knees. The first word to break the dull silence of those hours was spoken then, when he said, “What in hell are you trying to do?” We made our way out to the old tote road, and after walking about a mile west, got out of the range of the fire.

Pg 22 We made our way back to camp to find Wirth all excited. His greeting was, “Gee, you ought to have been here this afternoon, for everything at the dam”—meaning Birch Lake dam—“has burned, camps and all, for I could see the hay stacks as they would catch fire and the flames shoot up in the air hundreds of feet.” Then the thought flashed upon me: The dam, suppose it should burn out. With an eleven-foot head of water on Birch Lake and Big Chetak, what would happen to the country below? Miller and Peterson being all in, I asked Wirth if he would go with me and try to make the dam. The rain had lasted only about half an hour and the fire, which had again got under way, but with no wind, was fortunately not burning as furiously as earlier in the day. The road to the dam took us back into the edge of the fire, but on making several detours we reached the dam to find both wings afire. Pete Null, and four or five men who had been stationed there at the Birch Lake Camp, were making a desperate fight to save the dam, but they were almost played out, having fought in vain all afternoon to save the camps.

One glance and I saw what to do. Wirth and I picked up a couple of peavies, and climbing down to the apron, ripped up four or five planks and stuck them on end down under the bed plates, or stringers, leaving them standing pointing up stream at an angle of forty-five degrees. We then climbed back upon the dam and raised the gate four or five inches. When the current struck those planks it threw a spray of water all over both wings of the dam and inside of ten minutes we had the fire completely out.



We all sat down and rested for about half an hour; then Wirth and I took a boat and rowed back to camp, a distance of about two miles. When we reached there, about midnight, the rain set in and it rained until noon the following day. Miller and Peterson were still unable to move around much, as their faces and hands were badly blistered and their Pg 24 eyes pained them terribly. As for myself, aside from being unable to speak above a whisper, I was in pretty good shape, and knowing it would only be a couple of days until father, as soon as he could reach us, would be there to look the situation over—plans for the coming winter of logging would have to be changed to include all the timber that had been burned, for in that country a tree though slightly burned would be worm-eaten inside of a year unless cut—I started out with Wirth the next morning to find, if we could, just how far the fire had extended east and west and to look up a site for a camp to replace the Mulvaney Camp which had burned. We found that the fire had taken a course similar to that of a cyclone, about three miles in width and about twenty miles in length, extending from a point four miles south and west of Cedar Lake Dam, crossing the narrows between Cedar Lake and Hemlock up the east shore of Cedar Lake to a point about opposite Stout’s Island, and then north to the shores of Big Chetak just west of the Aronson Camp in Section 4—in all an area of about seventeen miles in length and two to four miles in width.

Father and L. S. Tainter arrived the next day and after looking over the site for the new camp we came back to the scene of our experience of a few days before. We had about reached the point when father turned to me saying, “John, did I understand you to say you were here during this fire?” I answered “Yes.” He looked at me for a moment with, you will remember, that peculiar squint of his and then he said, “John, you lie, for no man could have been here when this fire passed and lived to tell the tale.” Nevertheless we were there, and are still living.

[1] The author of this narrative is a native of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. His father, James Bracklin, was for over thirty years superintendent of logging and log-driving for the Knapp, Stout, and Company lumbering corporation. Under his tutelage the son received his training for his life-calling of woodsman and lumberman. The present narrative was prepared in the form of a letter to Mr. Henry E. Knapp of Menomonie, to whom we are indebted for the opportunity to put it into print.

Pg 25

BANKERS’ AID IN 1861-62[2]

By Louise P. Kellogg

When the news of the firing upon Fort Sumter aroused the North, all eyes were turned upon New York, not only as the monetary center of the country, but as a city most closely allied in financial interests with the South. The moneyed men of that city responded to the country’s danger. Upon the stock exchange cheers were given for Major Anderson, and April 17, 1861, resolutions were passed pledging the loyalty of the institution to the government. Anderson and his command from Fort Sumter reached New York on April 18, and on Saturday, April 20, a monster mass-meeting was held in Union Square, where five speaker’s stands had been erected. The resolutions adopted at this meeting not only pledged the loyalty of the city, but provided for a Union Defense Committee, comprising thirty of the most prominent financiers and bankers headed by General John A. Dix, recently secretary of the treasury under President Buchanan. The mayor and the comptroller of the city were ex-officio members of this committee. The city council appropriated $1,000,000 for the immediate needs of the New York troops, and raised the funds by the sale of Union Defense bonds. The Committee of Union Defense acted ex-officio as a federal agent, attending to the equipment and dispatching of regiments, purchasing steamers for transportation, feeding and sheltering the troops, without waiting for the action of the federal authorities. At one time three members of the committee were entrusted with $2,000,000 federal money without security or compensation. By these means the Seventh New York Pg 26 Regiment was dispatched for the protection of Washington, and other troops were moved toward the front. The Union Defense Committee was maintained for about one year. Its later duties were concerned with the care of funds raised for the benefit of the volunteers and their families. It collected and disbursed for this purpose about $1,000,000.

Meanwhile the city banks were loyally endeavoring to prevent a financial crisis. April 25, 1861 they determined to hold all their specie as a common fund, this being a precautionary measure to sustain public confidence. There were in New York City fifty-four banks with a capital of $69,907,000. Much of their paper was held in the southern states, where debts to northern holders were quickly repudiated. Nevertheless, in the entire state of New York only five banks suspended during 1861, and none of these in New York City.

Following the example of New York, the banks of Boston and Philadelphia pooled all their cash reserves. The Boston banks, of which there were forty-two, with a capital of $38,231,000, and which had a clearing-house system, aided in preventing an immediate panic.

Western banks were less well prepared to meet the emergency. Most of them held southern state bonds as the basis of their currency system. During 1861 bank after bank went to the wall, and the notes of others depreciated with startling rapidity.

All the banks of that period were either state banks or private banking concerns. The national banking-system did not come into being until 1863. The first (though indirect) aid furnished by the banks in the national crisis of 1861 was the preservation of their own integrity, and therewith the entire credit system of the North, from collapse. This was accomplished through the instrumentality of the banks of the three chief cities of the East—New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. In the West, a few banks in Cincinnati, Chicago, Pg 27 and Milwaukee were strong enough to support the situation, even while the larger part of the western banks went to the wall.

The direct aid furnished by the banks and bankers of the country to the state and federal governments during the early years of the Civil War may be classified under the three heads of contributions, loans, and agencies.


The call for troops awoke a patriotic fervor in many hearts, which led to an offering of money as well as of men. In this outpouring of gifts the bankers took their part, some giving as individuals, many in the name of their institutions. No complete record of these patriotic contributions is available. Harper’s Weekly of May 25, 1861, estimated that the individual gifts of more than $1,000 from counties, cities, societies, corporations, and other organizations totaled $27,000,000.


The first necessity was that of temporary loans for both the state and federal governments.

Temporary loans to states. Patriotic impulse prompted the immediate offering of loans by the banks. In Massachusetts the bankers of Boston tendered the state government a loan up to ten per cent of their combined capital. In Illinois the banks of Springfield offered the state $100,000 on the day Lincoln called for troops. This was supplemented by the Chicago banks’ tender of $500,000. Throughout the early days of the war the banks in all localities were called upon for loans on the credit of the state. These were funded at seven per cent, then the usual interest for such transactions.

Temporary loans to the federal government. The treasury of the United States was in a desperate condition at the outbreak of the Civil War. Lacking resources even for its daily needs, it was totally unprepared for the great Pg 28 strain immediately placed upon it. Secretary Chase did not have recourse to the bankers, however, until after the battle of Bull Run in July had proved that the war was not to be an affair of “three months.”

On the day that the news of the defeat at Bull Run reached Philadelphia, a young banker recently removed to that city from Ohio, an ardent partisan of Secretary Chase, drew up a paper offering to advance to the Secretary of the Treasury specified sums for sixty days at six per cent interest, returnable in specie or interest-bearing treasury notes. With this proposal he visited the principal banks and financial houses in his city, and raised for immediate government needs nearly $2,000,000 in one day. Chase was interested and grateful, and the fortunes of Jay Cooke, the young banker, were made from that day.

Early in 1862, when the government’s daily needs were increasing enormously, John J. Cisco, assistant treasurer of the sub-treasury at New York, made arrangements for a loan from the city banks of their temporarily idle funds. These were received on deposit for thirty days, subject to withdrawal thereafter on ten days’ notice. At first Cisco by this means secured much specie at four per cent; later, five and six per cent were paid for these advances. This money was largely used for the payment of the interest on the public debt. One banker in New York, it is said, became uneasy after lending the sub-treasury $1,000,000, and demanded its return. Cisco told him to send his carts for it immediately. The next day his faith in the government was restored and he concluded to leave his reserve with the sub-treasurer.

An instance of immediate aid to the government’s foreign diplomats is related in the biography of the late J. Pierpont Morgan. Morgan was in London on business for his house at a time when Charles Francis Adams was endeavoring to prove to the English government that certain vessels fitting in British ports were intended for Confederate privateers. Pg 29 The officials were slow to accept Adams’ proofs, and he was much alarmed lest the commerce-destroyers should get to sea before he had succeeded in having an embargo placed on their departure. The British authorities finally agreed to detain the ships on condition that Adams should deposit £1,000,000 guarantee to indemnify the government should the owners not prove to be Confederates. Adams was in a dilemma: he could not well refuse such a proposition, but long before he could receive the money from America the cruisers would be at sea. He tried to borrow on his personal credit from London bankers, only to be rebuffed. Young Morgan heard of the situation, sought the ambassador, and promised to deliver $5,000,000 in gold into his hands in two days, asking only his personal receipt in return, while stipulating absolute secrecy concerning his patriotic action. In this wise two of the commerce-destroyers were detained in port, and the integrity of the American ambassador was vindicated.

Secured, or long-time, loans to states. Upon the news of the firing on Fort Sumter and the subsequent call for troops every northern legislature then in session appropriated a fund for war purposes. Indiana, for example, voted $500,000 for arms and equipment, and $100,000 for a contingent fund. Connecticut made an issue of $800,000 of war bonds. These funds were raised in various ways. In Massachusetts and Connecticut they were offered for popular subscription and sold at par. The western states placed their bonds on the New York stock market, where in many cases they sold at a considerable discount. Where the state’s credit was poor, and its banking-system insecure, the bonds could not be placed, and were recalled after being offered. Such was the case with Iowa and Wisconsin. Ohio recalled its bonds, after they had been advertised in New York, when it was learned that the federal government assumed all war expenses, and would refund these to the states.

Pg 30 Wisconsin adopted an ingenious plan, suggested to the State Bankers’ Association by Alexander Mitchell. The state banks had deposited with the state comptroller securities for their currency issues. The larger proportion of these securities was made up of the bonds of the southern or border states. Those of the secession states were considered worthless, while those of Missouri, large holdings of which were in Wisconsin, declined rapidly. The comptroller, as required by law, made assessments upon the state banks, which they found it difficult to meet. Mitchell proposed that the banks should purchase the bonds of the state war fund at par, and that the comptroller should accept them for the assessments. In this wise the credit of the state was improved and the currency secured. The details of the arrangement were that the banks took $800,000 of the war-fund bonds, seventy per cent of which was paid at once, three-fifths in specie and two-fifths in sound currency. The remaining thirty per cent was to be met in fifteen annual installments. The adoption of this expedient furnished the state with ready money, placed the banking currency on a sound foundation, and restored confidence to the community. Wisconsin’s banks resumed specie payments at the date fixed by law, December 1, 1861, and maintained them for some time after the New York banks had suspended such payments.

On the basis of these war-fund appropriations state agents flocked to New York to arrange for the purchase of war material. Arms and ammunition had to be largely secured from Europe. The New York banks arranged these transactions, and furnished exchange and information. The competition between the several state agents and those of the federal government raised prices inordinately. This was remedied when the federal government assumed full responsibility for all equipment.

The federal loans. The most important function of the banks was the aid they furnished the Secretary of the Pg 31 Treasury in floating the great federal loans that were required by the war necessities. The special session of Congress which met in July, 1861, appropriated $250,000,000 for the immediate needs of the government, leaving large latitude with the Secretary of the Treasury as to the method by which this amount was to be raised.

The defeat at Bull Run put a very serious strain on the credit of the United States, and the forced sale of securities in a foreign market would have been disastrous to the future conduct of the war. In the dilemma in which he was placed, Secretary Chase paid a visit to New York, where Cisco, the assistant treasurer, invited the prominent financial authorities to meet him for consultation. Chase frankly stated the serious nature of the situation, and requested assistance and advice. From the standpoint of policy this was a wise measure, since previous to this time the New York bankers had held somewhat aloof from the operations of the federal treasury. Their prompt support at this crisis is to their perpetual credit, for although they largely profited in the end by this government connection, at the time of the operation the transactions were of daring boldness. The banks realized that without a firm government their own operations were imperiled, and thus they risked their all to support the government in its crisis.

At the first conference George E. Coe, president of the Exchange Bank, proposed an association to subscribe for the government loan. A committee appointed to develop a plan reported on August 15 for thirty-nine New York banks. Representatives from Boston and Philadelphia were likewise present, and the loan was apportioned among the three cities in accordance with the bank capital of each; that is, seventy per cent was to come from New York, twenty per cent from Boston, and ten per cent from Philadelphia. The association thus formed agreed to take immediately $50,000,000 of treasury bonds payable in three years with interest at seven and three-tenths per cent. This rate, representing a payment of Pg 32 two cents a day on each one hundred dollars loaned, had been adopted by Secretary Chase in the hope of popularizing the bonds with the people. The banks composing the association were to pay over to the sub-treasuries of the three cities in specie ten per cent of the amount subscribed; the remainder was to be placed to the credit of the United States upon the books of the subscribing institutions. Meanwhile the bonds were to be offered to the people, both by the banks and the sub-treasurers, and no other United States securities were to be sold, except in Europe, while these subscriptions were being solicited. The associated banks also agreed to float a similar loan of $50,000,000 in October—if it had not by that time been taken by popular subscription—and another $50,000,000 in December.

This was the largest financial operation that had ever been attempted in the United States. Its successful accomplishment at that time was of the greatest possible value in maintaining public confidence, and in uniting the fortunes of the financiers with those of the federal government. It was a tribute to the organizing ability as well as to the patriotism of the founders of the bank association. The capital of the united banks was but $120,000,000, and their coin assets only $63,000,000. Their subscription to $150,000,000 of government securities was thus an act of faith.

In practice this agreement did not work out as the bankers had hoped. Chase refused to suspend the sub-treasury act, though authorized to do so by Congress, in order that the banks might pay the government’s creditors in clearing-house certificates; thus the specie began draining away from the banks into the sub-treasuries. The Secretary also began the issue of demand notes on the treasury in considerable amounts. Moreover, the public sales were less than had been anticipated. The bankers were accused of attempting to dictate to the government concerning the conduct of the war. The inevitable Pg 33 result of all this friction was the suspension of specie payments by the New York banks December 30, 1861.

With the immense strain upon the government’s resources, the catastrophe of suspension would no doubt have occurred sooner or later; but financial historians believe that had Secretary Chase been more willing to accept the bankers’ propositions, had he coöperated with them more fully, the financing of the Civil War might have wrought less damage in the business world than it did.


During the sale of the $150,000,000 bond issue Secretary Chase appointed a large number of agents in every part of the United States to secure the popular subscriptions. Most of these were presidents of local banks. The agents were allowed a commission of one-fifth of one per cent on the first $100,000, and one-eighth on later amounts. One hundred and fifty dollars was allowed for advertising purposes. A traveling agent went through the West, arranging for local agencies and assisting in advertising. It was proposed to allow the country bankers a larger commission with a view to stimulating wide sales, but this proposal the Secretary of the Treasury declined to adopt.

The western agents were not very successful in promoting this loan. Jay Cooke, of Philadelphia, sold more than one-fourth of all the bonds issued to the agents; but, in order to do so, spent more than the amount of his commission in advertising.

Secretary Chase became much interested in the measures adopted by this Philadelphia banker. As more and more pressure was put upon him for funds, he often consulted with Cooke, and frequently permitted the latter to buy United States securities to buoy up a falling market. On October 23, 1862 Chase appointed Jay Cooke sole agent for the conversion of legal tender treasury notes into the $500,000,000 Pg 34 six per cent five-twenty bonds authorized by Act of Congress February 25, 1862. By advertising on a larger scale than had hitherto been known, and by employment of 2,500 sub-agents, mostly bank presidents, in every part of the North, Jay Cooke accomplished his enormous task, the loan being finally over-subscribed by $11,000,000. His commission was three-eighths of one per cent on the first $100,000,000, of which one-eighth went to the sub-agent, and one-eighth to advertising and to placating the public press. The loan was sold in small denominations to every class of the population. Cooke patriotically resisted all proposals to sell large blocks of the bonds to European holders. He believed a bond issue held by the people was the safest means of financing and of prosecuting the war. He made the loan a great democratic institution. It is not too much to say that his success in selling this $500,000,000 bond issue “dispirited the South, gave Europe … useful evidence of the determined courage and material wealth of the northern people, and was a factor of vast importance in deciding the fate of the Union.”

[2] This article was originally prepared as a memorandum for the information of the Wisconsin State Council of Defense, in response to the request of Charles McCarthy, secretary of the Council.

Illustration: HARVEY REID

[From a photograph taken in 1910]

Pg 35



With Introduction and Notes by Milo M. Quaife

The war time diary of Harvey Reid possesses elements of permanent interest and value. Aside from this, however, it should have a special interest now, when we are still passing through the initial stage of another great war in behalf of human liberty and human rights. With the events and emotions of the past few months still fresh in mind, it is well to relive with our eager diarist the opening scenes of the Civil War at the capital of Wisconsin. Madison is an interesting city, with a rich and interesting history; yet it would be impossible to select, from all its eighty years of life, a period more crowded with exciting events than were the three months of April, May, and June, 1861. Fortunately a bright and eager observer was at hand making his daily record of the thrilling life of this exciting time.

Harvey Reid, the diarist, typifies the choicest product of our American civilization. It was not given to him to play a prominent rôle in the drama of his time. Instead, he belonged to the great mass of Americans, of whom, as individuals, posterity will retain no memory. But he was honest, industrious, and loyal, faithful to his country alike in military and in civil life. Although his education was limited to the district school, and to the ten-weeks’ preparatory course at the University of Wisconsin covered by the diary, he retained a lifelong interest in educational affairs, laboring effectively for many years as school director and library trustee. His intellectual vigor is attested by the fact that after reaching Pg 36 his sixtieth year he began and diligently pursued the study of geology. In the historical field two substantial volumes stand to his credit—a biography of Enoch Long, published by the Chicago Historical Society, and one of Thomas Cox, published by the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Reid was born in Washington County, New York, March 30, 1842, of Scotch-Irish ancestry. When two years of age he was taken by his parents to Wisconsin, the journey being made by way of the Erie Canal and then around the Lakes to Racine, which was reached in June, 1844. The elder Reid shortly removed to Yorkville, and several years later to Union Corners (now Union Grove) in Racine County. Thus Reid grew to manhood in pioneer Wisconsin, and became in the fullest sense a product of the Badger State. In 1859, at the age of seventeen, he began teaching school in an adjoining district at a salary of twenty dollars a month. A second winter was passed in the same way (the summers being devoted to helping his father), and then, in the spring of 1861, came the prized opportunity of ten weeks’ schooling at the state university. How fully the young man improved it the pages of the diary reveal.

Of the three room-mates in old North Hall from Union Grove, in the spring of 1861, Goldsworthy, Fuller, and Reid, only the first-named resumed his studies in the autumn. Reid again taught a winter term of district school in Racine County, and then followed his parents, who had removed to the new town of Shannon, Illinois. But in the summer of 1862, in response to Lincoln’s call for “six hundred thousand more,” he returned to Union Grove to enlist with a squad of boys from the old home neighborhood. Characteristic of the conduct of the Civil War is the fact that of the twenty-four boys of the “Union Grove Squad,” four died of disease, while but one was killed in battle. Reid enlisted at Racine, August 7, 1862, in the Twenty-second Wisconsin Infantry. The Pg 37 close of the war terminated his service in June, 1865. During the war his father had removed to Sabula, Iowa. Following him thither, on being released from the army, Reid made his home in Jackson County, Iowa, until his death in 1910. He played a worthy, albeit quiet, rôle in life, and died sincerely mourned by the circle of his acquaintances.

The Civil War papers of Mr. Reid were presented to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin a year ago by his daughter, Mary A. Reid of Des Moines. They comprise, in addition to the diary here printed, a voluminous correspondence during the term of military service, with parents and sisters at home. At the beginning of his service Mr. Reid formed the design of writing his home letters in the form of a journal, instead of keeping, as so many Civil War soldiers did, a formal diary. Because of this fact, and of the high order of intelligence and ability possessed by the writer, the letters constitute a valuable record, well worthy of publication when the occasion shall offer.


Mar. 22d.. to June 26th. 1862 [1861]

Friday, March 22, 1861. Started on the 11½ o’clock train for Madison. Arrived in Clinton at 4 P. M. Waited 20 minutes for the cars on the C & N. W. R. This road passes through the village of Shopiere and the city of Janesville. Arrived at Milton Junction about ½ past 4—then took the train on the M & P du C R. R. & arrived at Madison about 7½ O’Clk Went with J. G.[3] to Mr. Whites where he boards. Met Mr. Bradford[4] there.

Pg 38 Saturday 23. In the forenoon went to the Capitol where the Legislature was in session. Both the Senate and Assembly were in Committee of the whole on private and local bills. Was introduced by John to Mr Curtis,[5] one of the students in the University. In the P. M. went with Mr. Bradford to the State Historical Society’s rooms, where there is a large library and many portraits, pictures, and curiosities. Also went to Prof. Sterling’s[6] room, paid our tuition and room fees—$12.50 received tickets for our keys and for the library, and visited our rooms.

Monday, March 25, 1861. On Sunday went to the Episcopal Church in the A. M. the rector Mr. Britton[7] preached from Col. III. 2. In the evening went to the Baptist Rev. Dr. Brisbane.[8]

On Monday attended the University—Mr. J B. Parkinson[9] is the tutor in the Prep. Dept. Commenced Algebra, Geometry & Latin. Our goods not having arrived on Saturday eve, we must wait till this evening. We board with Mr. White in the meantime. In the Assembly at noon they were discussing the bill appropriating money to the Lady Elgin sufferers.[10] The bill was lost—Heard Bradford, D. H. Johnson & Capt. Knapp[11] speak.

Tuesday 26. Our goods arrived last night, but we could not get them then. They will send them to us today. It is Pg 39 raining and freezing all forenoon. settled with Mr. White—paid him $1.75 each—our freight & cartage cost 2.87. occupied our room in the P. M. In the Assembly at noon, the Personal Liberty repeal bill was under consideration but they were only voting on amend. &c. so we heard no speaking. It was passed in the Assembly.

Wednesday 27. Went to the Capitol at noon the Assembly were taking the final votes on the amendment to the Banking Law. It finally passed with only five dissenting voices. Several of the students visited us today, and invited us to attend their Societies, of which there are two—the Hesperian and the Atheneum. There appears to be considerable rivalry between them. The meetings are on Friday evening. John will stay with us tonight and probably always after this.

Thursday, March 28, 1861. Bought 28 tickets for bread between us. Wrote a letter home describing our rooms &c. Went down town to the P. O. after 4. Nothing especial going on, but heard that the Legislature will hold an evening session.

Went to the Capitol in the evening. Assembly in Committee of the Whole, but soon had to rise on account of the noise and confusion, a number of private and local bills passed to a third reading and several of the same kind passed Bradford is going home tomorrow on a visit

Friday 29. Saw the 2 wonderful clocks & the thermometer[12] this morning. Attended both Societies this evening—went first into the Atheneum—they were discussing the question, “that the mentality of the sexes are equal.” a spirited debate sprang up on a proposition to amend the question by inserting “mental power,” instead of, “mentality.” but it was lost. Heard Messrs. Norcross, Green & Salisbury[13] & another whose name I do not remember speak.

Pg 40 In the Hesperian they were discussing whether “the war of 1812 was justifiable on the part of the U. S.” it was decided in the aff. John’s name & mine were presented for admission.

Saturday 30. After breakfast, about 8½ O’Clock, Will[14] & I went across the lake to the Asylum. Had considerable trouble in getting across a large crack in the ice in the middle of the lake. On arriving on the shore found that the Asylum folks were making sugar. An Irishman whom we found there took us immediately to the engine rooms, and showed us the gas works,—(retort & meter), the engines, a large wheel with fans for driving air into the principal buildings, the large force pump worked by steam, the laundry rooms, took us through the underground passage which leads between the two buildings. Found Uncle T. in the billiard rooms where a crazy half breed & two others were playing. Uncle T. looks quite healthy & appears somewhat better in mind than when he left home. He took [us] all over the building—let [?] into the ward in which he is—there we saw about a dozen insane some sitting, some walking back & forth the length of the hall, one lying down full length upon the floor, & 2 curled up in the window; one was a man named Jones, who came from Racine Co. and had often been at U. G. He had sometime been injured by a thrashing machine & showed us a scar where one of his ribs had been taken out. One was a preacher’s son, named Hall, he would speak to no one. One had a violin which he commenced playing shortly after we came in, and kept it up all the while we were there.

Uncle T. showed us in this ward, the water closet, where opening the door caused water to run through the seats: the bathing room, the reading room where they keep the daily & other papers for patients to read. We were invited to take dinner with the help. Mr. Griswold the keeper, told me that Uncle T. has improved much; when he came there he was a great bore. After dinner we went into the cooking room where most things are cooked by steam.

Pg 41 We went out and visited the Indian mounds between the Asylum & the beach. several are in the shape of men, and one is a very accurate representation of a rabbit. We went around the lake going home and had a pretty hard time of it.

Monday, April 1, 1861. Yesterday all 3 of us attended the Cong. Heard Prof. Butler[15] preach from John XVIII. 38. Joined Prof. Conover’s[16] Bible class in this church. In the eve. went with about 20 of the other students to hear Mr. Mason of the Universalist. His theme was the “mercy of the Lord,” and his discourse was strongly Universalist.

To-day, after the regular routine of school duties, John & I went down town about 5 o’clock so as to be at the depot when the cars arrived, & see if C. White came he did not arrive however, & we got home at 9 somewhat disappointed and very tired John & I hired a P. O. box between us No. 693.

Tuesday 2. Went to the depot in the evening to meet Mr. Bradford if he came, but were disappointed. Received two letters from the Grove—one from C. & Billy White[17] & one from Libbie. It is the first I have heard from the Grove since I have been here. Will also recd a letter.

No news of importance. It has been quite warm & thawing all day.

Wednesday 3. The sun rose clear and warm after a frosty night, & as we were sitting by our open window, we were startled by loud & frequent reports, which resembled the discharge of cannon, but Will says it is the ice cracking on the lake.

Went to the depot again to meet Bradford, but were again disappointed. Made arrangements to have bread baked by a woman near the Univ.

Thursday, April 4, 1861. The forenoon passed without incident worthy of remark, except that when I rose in the Pg 42 morning I had a very sore throat which I am afraid will trouble me.

In the evening John & I again started for the depot to meet Bradford, but the cars having arrived before we could get there, we went to the Capitol to wait for him. He brought John’s things and also some summer clothes & a letter for me from Sarah. I sent several of the Univ. catalogues to our Eastern friends

Friday 5. By advice of Mr. Bradford I slept last night with a wet towel bound round my throat & this morning it is much better. Went down town after school, to the depot after the things which Mr. B. bro’t & then to Mr. White’s with John to get some of his things. Did not get back in time to be initiated into the Society tonight—attended both—the Hesperian the most of the evening—The Hesp’s discussed, “Res. that a man should resist a law which his conscience tells him is morally law [wrong].” decided in aff. The Ath’s. discussed “Res. That the character of Queen Elizabeth was worthy of emulation.” I dont know how it was decided.

Rained nearly all day & all of the evening

Saturday 6. Commenced with a rain storm, continued with a rain storm, and ended with a rain storm, i. e. it rained all day incessantly, which kept us in the house all of the time until about 4 o’clock when John & I went down town to make some purchases & there learned that 19 Wis. banks had been “thrown out” & every bill I had ($8) was on them.[18] Wrote a long letter home,—or rather, wrote one & commenced another

Discredited money is worth 80 cts.

Monday, April 8, 1861. Yesterday was a pleasant day again—Went with a large company of students to hear Prof. Butler preach, it being the last time he is going to preach for Pg 43 the present. His text was 1 Cor. XI, 22, and a capital discourse. Mr. Bradford was with us in Prof. Conover’s Bible Class. To-day is another rainy day The morning duties passed as usual, at 3 o’clock, we were invited by some of the boys to go to the City Hall & hear Geo. B. Smith[19] speak on a lawsuit between Bird & Morrison The suit involves $180,000. Mr. Morrison committed suicide last winter, it is said because he had perjured himself in the suit. He was the def’t. Mr. Smith made a very able speech.

Tuesday 9. The day passed as usual, i. e. a continual rain storm. About 5 o’clock, went down town, and learned by hand bills that Moses M. Strong would review a speech of Jno. Y. Smith,[20] in the Assembly Chamber to-night. Went to hear him—His speech was on the secession question, arguing against war and a very sound effort.

A meeting was called after the speech & a resolution introduced favoring Pres. Lincoln & the war policy, which, after some talk pro & con, was laid on the table[21]

Wednesday 10. A pleasant day at last & the first one really I have seen since I have been in Madison. Was out with many others of the students playing on the green after school. Rec’d a letter from Couse & the Adv. from home.

Thursday, April 11, 1861. Went to the P. O. about 5 O’Clock and received a letter from Libbie. The “discredited Wis. money” is down to 75 cents in many of the stores.

Rec’d a letter from Libbie

Friday 12. is the day for the Prep. Rhetorical Exercises but our division does not come on this time. The declamations Pg 44 & compositions were very good. At 4 o’clock went down town. In the Assembly they were talking on the Normal School Fund bill—which was passed. Several bills were ordered to third reading. Went into the City Hall tower & saw the clock, which struck while we were there. The view of the city from this tower is the finest I have yet seen.

In the Hesp. Soc. the question, “Res. that the U. S. ought to coërce the seceding states,” was decided in the neg. Hostilities in the South comc’d at 4 this morning.

Saturday 13. Visited this P. M. the Mendota Foundry, but there was nothing interesting going on. Went to the Capitol & found the Assembly taking an informal recess waiting for absentees. Mr. Bradford said he could go to the University now. We first went into the State Treasurer’s room saw Mr. Hastings—went also into the Secretary of State’s office, & into the State Journal office where they were printing by steam machinery.

Mr. Bradford visited our rooms & also saw Mr. Muir’s clocks & other curiosities.

Monday, April 15, 1861. Went to hear Mr. Taylor[22] the new Cong. minister, yesterday. He is a good preacher but preached a doctrinal sermon from Heb. II. 12. Learned in Prof. C’s Bible class that Spirit in the original means wind. Wrote a letter home for Mr. Bradford to carry.

In the Geometry recitation to-day the door of the recitation room opened and an old man entered whom I immediately recognized as Uncle Thompson. He said they had brought him over from the asylum to go home with Mr. B. but the Legislature had been reconvened by the Governor on acct. of the war news & Mr. B. could not go & he wished to go to Clinton to see Mr. Tinker, before he went home & would like to go right along I obtained permission to leave the class & accompanied him down town—sold my $5 bill for .65 cts. (but afterwards saw Mr. B. & bowd $3). carried his trunk to the depot and saw him safely off. Went with John into the country & got his straw bed filled & helped him carry it home, as we expected Charlie W. to-night. Went to the depot at 10½ P. M. but he did not come.

Pg 45 Tuesday 16th. Charlie came on the 3:45 train to-day. He brot packages from home for each of us—my linen coat & shaving tools & a letter. We took him into the Hist. Soc., then into the Assembly, & saw Mr. Bradford, who came to the University & took supper with us The Legislature held a session this evening which we all attended. A Banking law was passed a part of the debate on which we heard in the Senate.

Wednesday 17. Charlie heard the Algebra & Geometry classes & we also went to Prof. Carr’s[23] room & heard part of his lecture on Coral. At noon John & I were excused from further recitations & went with C. down town. the Legislature had adjourned & gone home. We found that books had been opened in the Gov. Guards Armory in the City Hall for receiving enlistments for the Southern army & that about ½ a dozen of the Univ. boys had enlisted.

The city is in a great military excitement

Thursday, April 18, 1861. Found that there were seven of the boys enlisted yesterday—Curtis, Frost, Wyse, High, Norcross, A. G. Miller & Reed & Bull[24]—but High was not accepted being under 17.

A meeting of citizens being called for tonight to provide for the maintenance of the families of those enlisting, we attended it at the Assembly Chamber, the chamber was crowded as full as they could stand, & the most enthusiastic meeting I ever attended. They commenced the meeting with singing the Star Spangled Banner, & then received subscriptions. Pg 46 Men would get up & offer various sums as they were able—$500, 400, 200, 100 50 25 & 10 $7,490 were subscribed altogether. The citizens then escorted the Gov. Guards to their Armory, under the marshalship of Gen. Atwood.[25]

Friday 19. In the Prep. Rhetorical Exercises this P. M. I read a composition—“America & Italy”—John—“The Discovery of the Mississippi”—& Will a declamation—“The true vigor in government.” In the Hesperian Soc. tonight the question was, “Res. that expatriation is a natural right.” decided in the aff. While the Debate was going on, Curtis, Bull & Wyse, of the University Volunteers entered the room & were greeted with tremendous applause—After the Soc. had adjourned it was organized into a meeting, to express the feelings of the members on the war question,—Norcross having just entered was loudly called for & rec’d with uproarious cheering. The other volunteers, Bull, Curtis & Wyse also expressed their feelings in regard to the cause in which they had engaged, after which the principal members of the Society were called upon—Clawson, Allen, Ball, H. Vilas, M. Leahy, Parkinson Jr.,[26] two from town—Brush & Lockwood, Wallace,[27] and another volunteer belonging to Pg 47 the Atheneans—E. G. Miller—spoke, & the enthusiasm was roused to the highest pitch. Then went into the Athenean where the same kind of exercises were being held, & heard Bull, Leahy, Ball, Church & Silverthorne[28] speak after which the meeting adjourned at 12½ o’clock with three rousing cheers for the University Volunteers.

Sat. 20th. The boys held a meeting at 4 P. M. for the purpose of organizing a military company here, but as we went fishing, we could not attend. Curtis has left the Gov. Guards, having rec’d a letter from home forbidding him to go. Wrote a letter home.

Monday, April 22, 1861. Got ready to go to the Presbyterian Church yesterday A. M. but it was so late when we got ready that we concluded not to go. Wrote a letter to Uncle Edward. In the evening went to the Baptist Church & heard Wm. Henry Brisbane, Jr., preach. Mr. B. is one of the volunteers in the war, & as he is going with his company this was his farewell sermon—His text was—St. Luke 22:36. & his subject our duty towards our government. He is a mere boy and his sermon was not remarkably sound. He wore his military dress in the pulpit Attack on Ft. Pickens—news came 21st.

222d.. Meeting of Univ. Guards this P. M. at 4 o’clock, when we U. G. boys joined it. They are about giving it up however, as it is not likely that they can get drill master from town. Drilled a while on the grounds by Campbell, a volunteer & Marsh,[29] a student.

Tuesday 23. The Univ. Guards again met this P. M. & the committee appointed at the first meeting, having reported yesterday that they had been unable to procure the services of a drill-master or arms, but that there was a company of young men organizing down town in which the students would have the first chance in joining &c.; they were instructed at yesterdays meeting to ascertain the terms of enlisting &c. & report today. They reported that the Co. would be organized there, and the boys could join without expense. & the boys having nearly all previously joined it, the Univ. Pg 48 Guards were disbanded. The Volunteers will start tomorrow & it was voted that we go to the depot in a body and see them off.

Wednesday 24. On going to the Geometry recitation at 11 O’Clock, John & I found that we were the only ones there the rest of the boys having gone down town to see the soldiers off. We also got excused then. & went to the Capitol Park, where we found the Artillery Co. with their guns, & both the Fire Co’s preparing to accompany the soldiers to the depot. At ½ past 12 the procession started. The Madison Guards were accompanied by the German Turner Society, the Gov’s Guards by a procession of citizens & the sidewalks were crowded with a dense throng the whole length of the procession. Arriving at the depot the soldiers were addressed by Judge Vilas,[30] & Gov. Randall[31] & the Star Spangled Banner was sung by Miss Susan Denin,[32] actress. Three cars were standing on the track which the soldiers filled about 10 minutes before the time of starting & then bid goodby to their friends, Norcross & Bull of the Univ. boys stood it well, but Miller, Wyse & Smith were much affected. The boys drilled down town this evening, but as we could not get our supper on time to go with them, we did not get there till they had got through.

Thursday, April 25, 1861. All Wis. bills are refused today. I do not know yet how many will actually be thrown out It is said that a meeting of bankers will be held tomorrow to determine on their future course. I do not lose anything. Received a letter from Couse yesterday with $1.25 enclosed, being what I lent Rose. The boys had a drill again tonight but John & I did not attend

Friday 26. In the Rhetorical Exercises of Division A this P. M. I was appointed Gen. Critic, not belonging to that division—The exercises consisting mostly of Compositions & Pg 49 were generally very good. The best was by Black—“The Wrongs of the Indians.”—The Athenean Soc. discussed—“Res. That the U. S. ought to coerce the seceding states”—Heard on the aff. Green, Heathcock, Wallace (called up) & Hall (sen.) on the neg. Holt, Black, High (called up) & Waterman[33] decided in aff. The Hesp. discussed “Res. that party spirit is beneficial to a country.” Did not hear much of it.

Saturday 27. Will, Muir & I. got a boat & went out on the lake this P. M. Lake quite rough. Rowed over to Picnic Point & washed out our towels &c. then rowed around the shore to the west & got back at sundown. Received a letter from Libbie.

Monday, April 29, 1861. Went yesterday to the Presbyterian Church. Mr Green[34] is a very entertaining preacher—His text was from Ps. 104:34 Wrote a letter home in the P. M. From the Presbyterian went to the Cong. Church to engage in Prof. Conover’s Bible class exercises.

Went down town this morning with John to deposit letters in the P. O. & also went down town again in the evening.

Tuesday 30. Bought some potatoes this morning & had them roasted for dinner—a rare treat—Received a letter from Sarah.

Wednesday, May 1. Went to the depot at 5 o’clock & saw two companies of soldiers who have arrived to rendevous with the 2d. Regiment at Camp Randall (the Fair Grounds) They were the La Crosse Light Guard & the Portage Light Guard. They were both partially uniformed & armed, & seemed pretty well drilled. They marched to camp, selected their quarters, then marched to the general mess room & partook of a warm supper.

Purchased a copy of the Wkly Journal & sent [it] home.

Pg 50 Thursday, May 2, 1861. The Beloit Guards arrived today They are without uniform or arms but a very fine looking company. Followed them to the camp but there was nothing going on there.

Before they came, Will & I went to the depot, expecting them but as they would not come for some time we walked on south from the depot & visited the ridge between Lakes Monona & Wingra This is a very high ridge & the top is covered with Indian mounds of all kinds & sizes. The Roman Catholic Cemet[e]ry is on the side hill, & we also visited it. Saw an Indian canoe in a dooryard on the way. Was told it belongs to Dr. Hunt.

Friday 3. On awakening this morning found that it was raining smartly, & it continued to do so until about noon when it turned into snow & did not clear off until nearly evening. In the Rhet. Exercise today I declaimed the extract from Judge Story’s oration, “Our duties to the Republic,” Will read “Letter from Jef. Davis.” John spoke “Men always fit for freedom”—Macauley—Going down town after school we learned that the “Belle City Rifles”[35] arrived this morning at 4. but we could not go to the camp after the late hour at which we returned—Athenean—Universal Suffrage question—Hesperian—Polygamy, laws against

Saturday 4. We all visited the camp this A. M. Saw the Belle City Rifles & was very much surprised at seeing Geo. Lincoln[36] in the ranks. He is the only acquaintance with them. Fat Sheldon,[37] whom I have often seen before, was with them however.

The Oshkosh Guards and the Citizens Guards of Fox Lake having arrived this P. M. went to the camp to see them. Staid till 8 O’Clock & had considerable difficulty in passing the guard.

Sunday, May 5, 1861. Attended church at the Methodists to day. Did not hear the name of the preacher. Text—Romans 14:7. Rained during the whole of the service & we had a fine run through the rain to the Cong. Church to attend Bible class. Visited the camp in the P. M. George Pg 51 had been on guard most of the day. Were kept there by the rain until nearly dark. & thereby were again made prisoners of war.

May 6th. Went down to camp again this P. M. Nothing of consequence occurred only that we were stopped by the guard again and had to be passed out by the corporal. They are very strict after 6 o’clock.

Tuesday 7. John and I went down town after school, & Will went to Camp Randall. When we came back we went down there too, but were refused admittance as they had made a rule that no one should be allowed in after 6 o’clock. While we were standing there, Will & George came to the gate and we shook hands with G. over the soldier’s bayonet.

Wednesday 8. The Trigonometry Class in which Will is, procured the instruments to day and were practicing surveying.

At 3 o’clock I went out with them and saw them take angles for measuring the height of University Hall. It proved to be 115.838 feet, if their work is correct.

Visited the camp again, Mr. Durand was there, and after the soldiers supper the Bible [Belle] City Rifles were marched to the Fine Arts Hall hill and drawn up in a line to hear a speech from him. He endeavored to persuade them all to remain with the Co. as an order has been recd that they must now enlist for 3 years or during the war, which many refuse to do.

Thursday, May 9, 1861. Will & I procured a boat after school and went out on the lake to try & get some fish. After being out two hours we speared one little bull head which we gave to the owner of the boat and agreed to go out with him to night and furnish light for him to fish. Started at 8, was out till 10 & caught two fish both of which we gave the boat owner.

Received a letter announcing the death of P. P. Taber.

Friday 10. Our fishing excursion caused us to oversleep ourselves, and when there was a loud rapping at our door about 15 minutes before 6, it did not wake me enough to comprehend what it was: but in about ½ an hour afterwards Pg 52 Mr. Wildish[38] again came to our room and brot a box which he said a gentleman had left for me. I saw by the name on the box it was Seth Rice who had brot it from home. Thus by my sleepiness I missed seeing an acquaintance from U. G. John & I took a walk in the N. E. part of the town, past Gov. Farwell’s Octagon house, & visited the Cemetery. Attended Society’s meetings.

Saturday 11. Nothing particular going on until evening when the Hesperian celebrated the anniversary of the Dedication of their new Hall. Ball read a humorous poem, Baker declaimed “The Gray Forest Eagle,” and Allen[39] delivered an oration. After these exercises, speeches were made by Profs. Butler, Sterling, Reed[40] & Parkinson, by a graduate, Hale, Hesperian, Ball, Vilas, Leahy, Tredway, Clawson, Stewart, & Athenean Hall.[41]

George Lincoln was present until about 9 O’Clock.

Monday, May 13, 1861. Attended Methodist Church yesterday. Was too late to hear the text. Mr Yokem preached. attended Bible Class. Wrote letter home—took it to P. O. in the evening & attended Baptist Church. Was again too late to hear the text but Mr. Brisbane preached a very fine sermon. His subject was the natural depravity of man.

Nothing happened on Monday worthy of note.

Tuesday 14. This is Library day. Took out Vols. 1st & 2nd of Smithsonian Cont. to Knowledge, treating of Indian Mounds & other American Antiquities. Had one of the same books last week which contained I. A. Lapham’s[42] account of the mounds in Wisconsin which was very interesting. Went to the P. O. but received nothing. Went into Pg 53 the Assembly Chamber to try & find out if Mr. Bradford had come but he had not. The Chamber is all ready to receive its occupants tomorrow.

Wednesday 15. Went to the Capitol at 3 O’Clk Assembly was in session, but almost immediately adjourned. Mr. Bradford has not arrived yet. As Will & I were Coming home again we were hailed from the opposite side of the street and looking up saw H. Foster, T. Graham & Alex. Adams[43] who have joined the B. C. Rifles in place of those who refused to enlist for three years. they told us that W. White was also with them & had [been] to the Univ. with G. L. to look for us. Went home & found them there. They left the Grove Sunday.

Had a fish for supper tonight & borrowed Holt & Black’s cooker.

Wrote a composition for Friday.

Thursday, May 16, 1861. Mr Bradford arrived on the 4 O’Clk train this morning. He came to the Univ. at 7 & brot letters for all of us & told [us] there were pkges at the depot for us. Went & got them at noon & found there were cakes, pies, butter & a chicken, & a dressing gown for me, which, however, proved too large. Went to camp after school, and found that I Martyne & H. Ginty[44] were with the new recruits. 2 Zouaves were on the grounds (one, dressed in full uniform) who entertained the regiment with specimens of their drill. Went down town about 5. & met Mr. Bradford there.

Friday 17. In the Rhetorical Exercises I read a composition—“Political Parties”—Will a composition—“A Great Discovery” John obtained an excuse, as he expected his mother on the cars. After school we washed out the floor of our rooms, which took so long that, as we had to go down town for victuals, I did not attend the Society’s meeting at all.

Saturday 18. Mrs. Goldsworthy arrived at 4 O’Clk this morning. Went to the Capitol at 11. Assembly had adjourned & most of the members were drilling on the park under command of Capt. Emery[45] of Portage City. Went Pg 54 into the Senate they were debating a Banking bill & one to provide for volunteer’s families. Heard Messrs Virgin, Hazleton, Quentin, Maxon, A. I. Bennett, Gill, Hutchinson, and Worthington[46] speak. Sen. Worthington was Chn. of Com of the Whole when I first went in. At 7½ attended their evening session, with G. L., T. G., & H. F., from camp Sen Cox Ch’n. of Com. Bill providing for Volunteer’s families & the 6 Rgt bill were up. Heard Gill, Hazelton, Joiner, Quentin,[47] & another one speak

Monday, May 20, 1861. Yesterday commenced with a heavy [rain] which continued till about 9 O’Clock when Billy White & Wm. Sheldon of Burlington came from Camp Randall. On account of the very wet weather and also because our visitors did not wish to go I did not go to church in the A. M. & as it rained all P. M. I could not go then. The boys staid till nearly evening. John was at Mr. White’s nearly all day with his mother. Wrote a letter home last night & sent it with Mrs. Goldsworthy today. Visited the Capitol in the P. M. but Legislature had adjourned

Tuesday 21. Visited the Assembly Chamber this P. M. Assembly were in session, discussing the Military Bill; more especially the provision for paying the soldiers, and requiring the war loan to be taken, in coin. Heard Judge Spooner, Messrs. Bradford, Warner Atwood, & Ramsey[48] speak.

Pg 55 After the adjournment went to the camp, & returning to the Univ. took a bathe in the lake.

Wednesday 22. The Sophs & Freshs got a rich joke on the Seniors this morning. They had bills printed last night composed in Artemus Ward style, purporting to be an advertisement for their lost cushions, and this morning they posted [them] in the most conspicuous places around the University & down town. Went to the Capitol immediately after school. The Assembly were engaged in a very animated discussion on a proposition that the enlistments should be divided proportionally among the Cong. dists. It was lost. I went with Mr. B. to Camp & witnessed the dress parade of the Regt. John & I subscribed for the State Journal for 3 mos.

Thursday, May 23, 1861. The Assembly this P. M. were discussing a banking law, but it not being interesting I did not stay long. Went to the Post Office & from there to the Journal to read the news. They keep there a file of all the City dailies free to the public.

Friday 24. Mr. Bradford visited us in our rooms at noon today. He said the Milwaukee Zouaves, having arrived at 7 O’Clock this morning would drill at 2½. and the Legislature had adjourned to witness it. He attended our Latin recitation & then we all went down to camp with him. The Zouave maneuvers proved very interesting & we staid till the troops went to supper at 5½ O’Clock, then went to the P. O. George was on guard at the gate. Judge Larrabee,[49] being on the grounds was pointed out to us by Mr. B.

Saturday 25. Went to the Capitol at 11 O’Clock. The Senate had under consideration the war loan bill, which originated in the Ass. 15 amendments adopted by Sen. 3 of them non-concurred by Assem. 2 receded from by Sen. & the 3d.. was that the loan should be taken & soldiers paid in Pg 56 coin. Sen. Gill moved that the Senate adhere to this amendment. A. I. Bennett said this was unusual & would be very discourteous to the Assem. as no Com. of Conference could be appointed if it were adopted. Sen. Hutchinson moved to amend that they insist instead of adhere. After warm discussion by Gill, Maxon, & Joiner, & Virgin, Hutchinson, A. I. Bennett & Hazelton it was carried that they adhere. On coming up in the Assem. this action of the Sen. was denounced by Frisby, Webb, Atwood, Spooner, D. H. Johnson & Hicks[50] & the Assem. insisted on their non-concurrence & asked a Com. of Conference, which was granted by the Senate & they proposed a bill which passed.

Monday, May 27, 1861. Attended the Cong. Church yesterday. Mr. Taylor’s Text was John III. 7 & I. 13., Also attended Prof. C’s Bible Class, Mr. Bradford was also there. In the P. M. the wind blew from the South a perfect gale. Wrote home & sent the letter with Mr. Bradford.

To-day went to the depot at noon to see Mr. Bradford off. After school went to the camp. The exercises on evening parade are changed today. Saw the maneuvers gone through with by Capts. Strong’s & Randolph’s Cos.[51] united but could not wait until the regular parade

Tuesday 28. Nothing worthy of note transpired to-day.

Wednesday 29. Seth Rice visited us today on his return from Richland Co. where he has been about three weeks. The train on which he came does not stop at the station (Stoughton) where he wishes to stop & he therefore lays over at Madison till the 4 o’clock train tomorrow morning.

He arrived about 4 o’clock & soon I went to the camp with him & we staid till after the evening parade. The exercise at this time now is—the companies form in line with their arms, come to parade rest. The band plays a tune & marches Pg 57 in front of the regiment the whole length of the line & back again—the gun is fired and the flag comes down—The Adj. announces to the Col. “the Parade is formed ” The Col put them through the Manual. The Sergeants report they are dismissed.

Thursday, May 30, 1861. Got up before 4 o’clock this morning to see Mr. Rice off. As we were sitting in our room at noon, the door opened and Charlie White entered without any previous announcement even the ceremony of knocking. After attending our Latin recitation we went with him to the camp. He had not previously heard that Billie was here. We staid till after parade & then John & I went down town purchased some meat, & when we got home borrowed a cooker & had a warm supper.

Friday 31. As we could not prevail on Charlie to stay here until Monday we obtained excuse from recitations today, hired a boat and went over to the Asylum with him. Visited all the places we had seen when there before and also were shown into the lower ward, and women’s ward. The wind having risen & blowing from the S. W.—“almost directly ahead—we concluded it would be impossible to row 4 back in the small boat which we had, so John & Charlie went round the lake afoot and Will & I rowed across. We went first to Sugar Bush point, where sheltered by the point, from the wind we tried to catch some fish but did not succeed. After starting for home the wind blew so hard that we could not make an inch headway but a rain coming up the wind ceased.

Saturday, June 1. Charlie went home at 10 o’clock last night, via Milwaukee.

John & I took our hooks & went on the R. R. bridge to fish but could catch nothing. But Will & I went out with a Dutchman in the evening and speared 7 in all—“1 pickerel, 1 sucker, 2 bass & 3 bull heads. We took the sucker and pickerel & had them for dinner the next day.

Sunday, June 2d Attended the Presbyterian Church today & Prof C’s Bible Class. Mr. Green had one of the most interesting sermons I ever listened to. He had four texts—Lev. X. 1. 2 & 3. The other three I have forgotten. Wrote a letter home in the P. M.

Pg 58 Monday, June 3, 1861. Going down town at noon today we learned by the dispatch on the Patriot bulletin board & by the crape hung around some of the stores, the sad intelligence of the death of Judge Douglas.[52] All of the flags in the city are at half mast and cannon are being fired every half hour till sundown at the Capitol & at Camp Randall. A meeting of the citizens was called for tonight, which we attended. Gov. Randall was appointed Ch’n & made a very affecting & pertinent speech. A committee was appointed to draft resolutions & speeches were made by E. A. Calkins, G. B. Smith, L. P. Harvey, M. H. Orton,—Gregory, & Col. Fairchild, & Chauncey Abbott.[53]

Tuesday 4. Went to the camp after school, to witness the parade. The boys say that a telegram was rec’d by Gov. Randall today from the Sec’y of War ordering the 2d.. & 3d. Regt’s. to Wash. as soon as they can be got ready, and they will probably go Monday. They have commenced having battalion drills today but, as they occur at three o’clock we can never see them. The flags are still flying at half mast and the com officers all wear crape on their left arms for 10 days.

Wednesday 5. An accident occurred on the R. R. last night. An axle of a freight car broke in crossing the bridge over the lake, threw the train off the track, and tore up the track and ties for some distance. It was a very dangerous accident as it occurred on the open bridge over quite deep water; but, fortunately, no one was injured. We finished the review of Geometry today, and now take propositions Pg 59 promi[s]cuously anywhere in the book so as to be more thoroughly prepared for examination. We also commence today to review Latin. Went to the P. O. after school.

Thursday, June 6, 1861. Visited the camp this evening during parade. Heard that they nearly had a mutiny last night. The sentry at the gun challenged the “grand rounds” when the officer not giving the countersign right he pricked him with his bayonet when his gun was snatched away from him and he “pitched in” to the officer with his fists for which he was put into the guard house, which the Capt. of his comp’y (La Crosse) having heard, he ordered him to be taken out; that not being done he ordered his company to charge bayonets & the whole reg’t being roused they broke into the g. house & released the man & also all other prisoners who were there.

Friday 7. There were no Rhetorical Exercises today, as in the two weeks before examination students are supposed to be preparing for that event and cannot perform this extra duty. “Got stuck” on a sum in Algebra today, but mean to stick to it till I get it out.

Went down to the P. O. after school

Saturday 8. The ladies of Madison gave the soldiers a picnic today. The tables in the “Operative Machinery” room were spread with bread, butter pies, cakes & sweatmeats, to which the boys did ample justice after which came speeches, music by the brass band, singing of Star Sp. Banner, and dispersion. The parade was formed almost immediately after the supper and all present witnessed it. Rec’d letter from home enclosing a “Programme of Commencement of Ind. Univ.” from Willie Reid.

Sunday, 9thRev. Mr. Britton (Epis.) held a service on the camp at 9½ A. M. He preached a patriotic sermon from the 12th chap of Kings. Attended Bible Class & Mason’s in evening.

Monday, June 10, 1861. Went to camp in the evening & there learned that Mrs. Graham & Mrs. St. George had been there today to see their sons; also while we were there Cap. Strong told his men that 50 of them could go home that night to see their friends before starting for “the wars.” Pg 60 T. G., T. St G.,[54] and W. White were among the no. who obtained permission to go. Geo. L. got out of the camp, & Will & I went with [him] to Father Norris’ to get the women to go home with their boys, but when we arrived at the depot we learned that an order had come from the Adj’t Gen. forbidding their going at this time.

Tuesday 11. Obtained excuse from Geom. recitation and went to the camp to see if the boys are going today. They cannot go as they are being mustered in to the U. S. service. Mrs. G. & St G. were there when we arrived at the camp & went home at 1 O’Clock. Staid at the camp till 5 o’clock to see the ceremony of mustering in the troops by Capt. McIntyre of the U. S. Infantry. 7 companies took the oath today.

Wednesday 12. We were all excused from Latin recitation, and visited Madison High School. The teacher, Miss Cowes,[55] seemed unprepared for visitors, and the afternoon session being a short one we heard but two recitations, (reading & Philos[o]phy) of which the Philosophy (not being a regular recitation at that hour) was rather poorly recited. There were but three boys in the room, the school consisting principally of girls.

Received a letter from Libbie

Thursday, June 13, 1861. Visited the camp in the P. M. Two squads (14 & 18) have gone home from the B. C. Co. but the U. G. boys were in neither of them. The parade tonight was drill & uninteresting, so many of them having gone home.

Finished review of Geometry today and take original propositions for remainder of the recitations.

Got the key from Dr. Carr & visited the Mineralogical, Geological & Natural History Cabinet, with Will & Holt.

Was much interested in some of the curiosities to be seen there.

Pg 61 Friday 14. By invitation of the boys we took supper at the camp this evening and were well pleased with the fare. There is some prospect of the boys going home to-morrow. The regiment will probably start for the east Tuesday.

Finished the review of Latin today, and now the class is going to try and get through Liber Tertius by Tuesday.

Attended the Society’s meetings. The Hesperian discussed the property qualification question, and the Ath’s “That the legal profession presents greater inducement than the others” The A’s elected officers for the ensuing term—Griswold, Presd. Silverthorne, V. P. Fallows,[56] Secy. Holt, Censor.

Saturday 15. On visiting the camp at 9 O’Clk found that another squad had been made up to go home, and Geo. L. & T. St G. were among them. Went back to our rooms and wrote letters to send by them.

At 4 O’Clk, Billy W. came to our rooms & said that he, T. Graham & Alec. Adams had also got furloughs and were going home on the 10 o’clk train, expecting to hire livery from Milwaukee. Went with Billy down town where he got his picture taken and the boys ate supper with us.

Sunday 16th.—Heard Mr. Green preach & attended Bible Class—Prof. C. was not there & Mr Dudley took charge, which made it very dull.

Monday, June 17, 1861. Went to G. B. Smith’s law office to see if he would deliver the address at U. G. on the 4th. He was not in; but his student (Mr. Bird) told me tha[t] his engagements would prevent his accepting the invitation. Then wrote a letter to “Pump Carpenter”[57] for the same purpose, as he is now living on his farm 6 miles from Pg 62 the city. Attended the panorama of Dr. Kane’s Arctic Expedition & was much pleased with it.

Tuesday 18. After school Will and I went with Frost across Lake Monona to his home, where we were treated to a warm supper, strawberry shortcake and strawberries & cream.

There is an encampment of Indians near by which we visited. There were two wigwams, in which or near by were 5 men, 4 squaws, & 7 children.

We also saw a young man & 2 boys in a canoe when coming down. There were two canoes in the river close by and Frost & Will got into one which came very [near] upsetting as it requires much practice to get used to them.

Picked up some clams in the lake & cooked them when we got home. The soup was very good but the clams were tough.

Wednesday 19. Examination commences today. At 9 O’clock & until 11, the Senior Class was examined by Prof. Read on International & Constitutional Law. This was by means of lectures by members of the class on different subjects connected with this study and proved very interesting From 11 to 12 Prof. Sterling’s class in Analytical Geometry was examined. This was “all Greek” to me, but the students seemed to understand the subject well especially as it was one of last term’s studies. Between 3 & 4 o’clock attended Prof. Butler’s class in Homer’s Iliad. McMynn[58] was present at this examination. From there we went into Prof. Read’s room where the Seniors were examined on Political Economy. Rec’d a letter from home.

Thursday, June 20, 1861. Went down to camp at 8 o’clock to see the boys off. The Belle City Co. (Co. F.) was in the “Operative Machinery” room, having just got there haversacks filled with provision. The regiment soon after formed on parade & were ordered by the Col. to repair to the pumps & fill their canteens; which being accomplished they formed in front of the speakers stand and were addressed by Gov. Randall. They then marched to the cars, Pg 63 which had been run down to the camp ground and filled two trains one of 11 & the other of 13 cars. We stood near the car which the Racine Co. entered and shook hands with all the boys as they passed.[59] Attended Prof. Carr’s examination of the Chemistry class from 2 to 5 P. M.

Friday 21. Went strawberrying nearly all forenoon, and in the afternoon attended Dr. Carr’s examination. This exercise like his recitation consists of lectures by the students on subjects which the Dr. himself has previously discussed before the class. This P. M. was devoted principally to Geology, and, although the boys had only since last night to prepare their subjects, they were well handled both as orations and as recitations Visited Camp in the evening. 1 Co. of the 5th. Regt. has arrived (from Waukesha). The men are rather small but the Co. is well officered and present a pretty good appearance. In the Ath. discussed whether the time devoted to the Classics in College could not be better employed—Decided affirmative

Saturday 22. Went to the depot at 1 o’clock to learn the arrangement of trains &c. preparatory to going home. From thence up town—we visited the Jail. There are only about a dozen prisoners there now, much less, they told us, than usual. One had his feet in irons having been attempting to break jail lately. Three of them were crazy.

Sunday 23d—Went to the Catholic Church this morning at 9, but the first mass was nearly over when we got there & as we did not know they would have another, we saw but little of their proceedings. Attended the Episcopal Church & Prof. C’s Bible Class. The Baccalaureate Sermon was preached by Prof. Butler in the Univ. Chapel at 4 P. M. His text was Sol. Song 4:4 & his sermon, or rather lecture, the finest I ever heard.

[3] John E. Goldsworthy, a student from Union Grove, who accompanied Reid to Madison and shared his room in North Hall, then used as a dormitory.

[4] Simeon S. Bradford, a member of the Wisconsin Assembly from Racine County. In his reminiscences Reid characterizes Bradford, who was for a time his teacher, as “a gentleman of excellent education, and a fluent, ready public speaker.” Reid further states that he was descended in direct line from Governor William Bradford of Plymouth. Before coming to Wisconsin he had been principal of an academy at Homer, Cortland County, New York, and had also published a paper there for several years.

[5] Joseph W. Curtis of Madison.

[6] John W. Sterling, dean of the faculty and professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. His connection with the university lasted from 1848 until his death in 1885. He was in turn acting chancellor, vice-chancellor, and vice-president of the university.

[7] Rev. James B. Britton, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church at Madison from 1855 until his resignation to become a chaplain in the Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry.

[8] Rev. W. H. Brisbane. He became pastor of this church in 1860, resigning at the outbreak of the war to become chaplain of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry.

[9] Prof. John B. Parkinson, now (1917) vice-president and emeritus professor of constitutional law of the university.

[10] The Lady Elgin was a steamer running between Milwaukee and Chicago. On September 8, 1860, the vessel was wrecked near Waukegan, as the result of a collision in the night-time with another vessel. The Lady Elgin had on board several hundred excursionists from Milwaukee, returning from a visit to Chicago. Of them all, only about 100 were saved. Among the victims were the editor of the New Orleans Picayune and his family, and the proprietor of the London Illustrated News.

[11] David H. Johnson was a member of the assembly from Bad Ax and Crawford Counties; Gilbert Knapp, from Racine County, was the founder and first white settler of the city of Racine. His title of “captain” was won by long connection with the United States internal revenue marine service and by his naval rank during the Civil War.

[12] The allusion is to the inventions of John Muir, who was then a student at the university. For the story of his inventions, and of his life at the University of Wisconsin, see his The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (Boston and New York, 1913), chaps. vii and viii.

[13] Pliny Norcross of La Grange, George G. Green of Milford, and Augustus H. Salisbury of Oregon. Norcross was the first University of Wisconsin student to enlist for military service, and his example, says Professor Butler, “was followed by so many sons of Mars that the largest and best Greek class I ever had was sadly thinned out.” Norcross returned to the university after his three months’ enlistment had expired, but within a short time he again left school and raised a company (Company K, Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry), of which he was elected captain. In after life he became a prominent lawyer and business man of Janesville. Salisbury was graduated from the university in 1867. He became a physician and made his home in Minneapolis, where he died in 1893.

[14] William Fuller, from Union Grove, who boarded and roomed with Reid and Goldsworthy in North Hall.

[15] James D. Butler, professor of ancient languages and literature, and librarian. He was a scholar of note in his day, who brought much distinction to the University of Wisconsin and, after his retirement to private life in 1868, to Madison.

[16] Obadiah M. Conover, professor of ancient languages and literature in the university 1852-58. After his withdrawal from this position he studied law, and spent the rest of his career as Wisconsin Supreme Court reporter.

[17] Charles J. White had been Reid’s teacher in the Union Grove school. Writing forty years later the pupil speaks of him as “one who, to a marked degree, left the impress of his fine character and careful scholarship upon all of the young people who were so fortunate as to come under his instruction.”

[18] At the outbreak of the Civil War the currency of Wisconsin was secured in very large measure by the bonds of southern states. Never considered wholly safe in the financial world, these securities, as soon as hostilities between the North and the South began, fell to a third of their face value. Wisconsin bankers were unable to make good the depreciation, and the value of their currency reflected their embarrassment. On April 4, 1861, the bankers of Chicago resolved not to accept the notes of 40 of the 109 Wisconsin banks. On the following day the Milwaukee bankers rejected the notes of 19 of the institutions proscribed at Chicago. This affected the value of about $1,000,000 of the $4,500,000 of Wisconsin currency. Brokers in the state during the succeeding weeks purchased the discredited money at prices which rapidly sank to fifty cents on the dollar.

[19] George B. Smith was born in New York in 1823 and came with his father to Racine, Wisconsin, in 1843. From 1844 until his death in 1877 his residence was at Madison. He was the youngest member of the first constitutional convention of the state, served as mayor of Madison several terms and several as state legislator, was attorney-general of Wisconsin for two years, and engaged in many other activities of a public nature.

[20] Moses M. Strong, author of a History of Wisconsin, had been since 1838 one of the leading public men of the territory and of the state. John Y. Smith had settled at Green Bay in 1828, and later at Milwaukee and at Madison. He served in the first constitutional convention and was for many years an influential editor and publicist. Smith had made a speech denouncing secession and upholding the Union and the administration at Washington. Strong also denounced secession but argued that a union held together by force was worthless and that compulsion should not be resorted to keep the South in the Union.

[21] By the chair, according to the State Journal’s report of the meeting, which asserts that two-thirds of the audience voted against tabling the motion.

[22] Rev. Lathrop Taylor, pastor of this church from April, 1860, till January, 1864. Except for these three years his forty-seven years of service in the pastorate were passed in Massachusetts and in Illinois.

[23] Ezra S. Carr, professor of chemistry and natural history in the University of Wisconsin from 1856 to 1868. He later served as professor in the University of California for six years and as superintendent of public instruction of the same state.

[24] Joseph W. Curtis of Madison, Lewis Frost of Madison, William A. Wyse of Sauk City, James L. High of Black Earth, Pliny Norcross of La Grange, Edward G. Miller of Sweet Home, Henry Reed of Union Grove, and James M. Bull of Middleton. Frost became a first lieutenant in the Twenty-third Infantry. High was graduated from the university in 1864. He enlisted in the Forty-ninth Wisconsin Infantry and attained the rank of adjutant. In later years he became a leading lawyer of the Chicago bar, being granted the degree of LL.D. both by his Alma Mater and by the University of Michigan. James Bull became lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry. Of him Professor Butler has said: “When this stampede [of the students to enlist] took place we were engaged in Xenophon’s Memorab lia. My own pocket copy, Trübner’s edition, I gave to James M. Bull, one of my most zealous pupils. It was his vade mecum throughout the war, and kept alive in him classical instincts…. The American soldier found the notes of the Greek soldier a congenial manual.” Bull returned to the university after the war and was graduated in 1869.

[25] David Atwood, a native of New Hampshire, came to Wisconsin in 1847 and became one of the leading newspaper publishers of the state. His military title was gained from his connection with the state militia. He served in the state legislature and for a short time in Congress. He died at Madison, December 11, 1889.

[26] Phineas J. Clawson of Waukesha, Gideon W. Allen of Trempealeau, Farlin Q. Ball of Monroe, Henry Vilas of Madison, Michael Leahy of Portland, and J. D. Parkinson of Georgetown. Clawson entered the army, where he rose to the rank of first lieutenant. In 1867 he was graduated from the university and thereafter followed the profession of law, making his home in Green County. He was at different times clerk of the circuit court, district attorney, and state senator. Allen was graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1862 and, later, from the law school of the University of Michigan. The greater portion of his career thereafter was spent in Sturgeon Bay. Ball served in the army where he became a captain and a major by brevet. In 1865 he was admitted to the bar and later became a prominent lawyer and judge of Chicago. Vilas obtained his degree from the university in 1865, adopted the profession of law, and died in 1872 while still a young man. Leahy entered the army and rose to the rank of captain. In after life he served in the general assembly of Iowa and as Indian agent at La Pointe. Parkinson was graduated from the university in 1861; he became a lawyer in Kansas City and served nine years as judge of the twenty-fifth Missouri circuit.

[27] Washington I. Wallace of Baraboo. He was graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1864 and later became a lawyer. At different times he served as member of the Missouri state senate, prosecuting attorney, and judge of the fourteenth Missouri circuit.

[28] William W. Church of Madison and William W. Silverthorn of Oakland. Church was graduated from the university in 1865; he adopted the profession of law, and spent his later life in Missouri and Utah.

[29] Cary M. Campbell of Madison and George S. Marsh of Whitewater.

[30] Levi B. Vilas, at this time mayor of Madison. Already a man of prominence in Vermont, his native state, he came west in 1851, settling at Madison. Here he served at different times as member of the state legislature, mayor of the city, and regent of the university. One of his sons was William F. Vilas, United States senator and cabinet member.

[31] Alexander W. Randall, circuit judge and governor of Wisconsin, United States minister to Rome, and postmaster-general.

[32] The singing was done by Mrs. Kate and Miss Susan Denin, members of a theatrical company which was giving the play Joseph and His Brethren in Madison.

[33] Oscar F. Black of Sextonville, George G. Green of Milford, J. Heathcock of Linden, Washington I. Wallace of Baraboo, Shadrach Azariah Hall of Eau Claire, C. Frank Holt of Kenosha, James L. High of Black Earth, and Frank Waterman of Madison. Waterman was graduated from the university in 1863, after which he is lost to sight. Hall was graduated in 1861, and for the next three years was principal of the Eau Claire Seminary. During 1861-65 he served in the army, with the rank of captain. He later taught school in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and finally became a farmer in the latter state.

[34] Rev. William L. Green who came to this church from Kentucky in September, 1856.

[35] The Belle City Rifles, from Racine, became Company F, Second Wisconsin infantry.

[36] George B. Lincoln of Racine, killed in action at Gainesville, Virginia, August 28, 1862.

[37] William C. Sheldon of Burlington.

[38] Charles H. Wildish of Waukesha.

[39] Farlin Q. Ball of Monroe, J. Stannard Baker of Hudson, and Gideon W. Allen of Trempealeau.

[40] Daniel Read, professor of mental, ethical, and moral science. He had served for many years as professor in the universities of Ohio and Indiana before coming to Wisconsin. From 1868-76 he was president of the University of Missouri.

[41] Thomas J. Hale of Madison, Isaac N. Stewart of Waukesha, J. Dwight Tredway of Madison, and J. G. Hall of Monroe. Hale was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, having received his degree in 1860. Stewart was graduated from the university in 1862. He entered the army and at the close of the war engaged in teaching, being for thirty years a prominent educator of the state. Tredway was graduated from the University in 1863.

[42] See ante, p. 11.

[43] Henry B. Foster, Thomas Graham, and Alexander B. Adams.

[44] Isaac Martine and Henry B. Ginty.

[45] Harvey W. Emery, member of the assembly from Columbia County, later lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry. He died of disease at Lisbon, Ohio, October 13, 1862.

[46] Noah H. Virgin, George W. Hazelton, Charles Quentin, Densmore W. Maxon, Alden I. Bennett, Charles R. Gill, Buell E. Hutchinson, and Dennison Worthington. Of these men Virgin came to Wisconsin in 1835. He served at different times in the territorial legislature and in the state senate and assembly. Maxon came to Wisconsin in 1843, made his home in Washington County (from 1846), and served numerous terms in the senate and the assembly of the state; in 1865 he was the democratic candidate for lieutenant-governor. He died in California in 1887. Gill came to Wisconsin in 1856 and opened a law office in Watertown. In 1860 and 1861 he was the youngest member of the state senate. He enlisted as a private in the army and rose to the colonelcy of the Twenty-ninth Wisconsin Infantry. From 1866 to 1870 he was attorney-general of the state. Hutchinson came to Wisconsin in 1848 and settled at Prairie du Chien. He was admitted to the bar and in 1856 was elected to membership in the state assembly. In later years he lived successively in South Dakota and in Chicago. Worthington settled in Waukesha County in 1847. He served in the assembly and from 1855 to 1861 in the senate. The remainder of his active career was devoted to the life insurance business at Madison.

[47] Charles B. Cox, Lemuel W. Joiner, and Charles Quentin. Joiner came to Wisconsin in 1845. He served several terms in the state assembly and senate. He died at Wyoming, Wisconsin, October 22, 1886.

[48] Wyman Spooner of Walworth County, Jared Warner of Grant, David Atwood of Dane, and William H. Ramsey of Ozaukee. Spooner, a native of Massachusetts, came to Wisconsin in 1842, settling first at Racine and then at Elkhorn. He served for many years as probate and as circuit judge, and a number of terms in the senate and the assembly. He was at one time speaker of the assembly and at another time president of the senate, and beginning in 1863 was three times elected lieutenant-governor of the state. He died November 18, 1877, in his eighty-third year.

[49] Charles Hathaway Larrabee. He came to Wisconsin in 1846 and the following year served in the second constitutional convention of the state. He served as circuit judge for a number of years and from 1858-60 was in the national House of Representatives. He entered the army shortly after Fort Sumter was fired on, and before ill health compelled him to retire rose to the rank of colonel. Upon leaving the army he removed to the Pacific Coast, where he met death in a railway accident in January, 1883.

[50] Leander F. Frisby of Washington County, Henry G. Webb of Waushara, and Franklin Z. Hicks of Iowa. Frisby came to Wisconsin from Ohio in 1846. In 1850 he opened a law office at West Bend, where he continued to practice for thirty-one years. He served as attorney-general of Wisconsin from 1882 to 1887. Hicks, a native of New York, came to Grant County, Wisconsin, in early life and engaged in lead mining. He served several terms in the territorial legislature and in 1846 as a member of the first constitutional convention of the state.

[51] Company F, Second Infantry, Capt. William E. Strong of Racine, and Company H, Second Infantry, Capt. Julius F. Randolph of Madison. Strong rose to the rank of brigadier-general during the war; Randolph was killed in action at Gainesville, Virginia, August 28, 1862.

[52] Stephen A. Douglas, famous Illinois senator and statesman.

[53] Elias A. Calkins was editor of the Madison Argus and Democrat, and one of the leading newspaper publishers of the state. In 1861 he entered the army as major of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, having declined a commission as colonel. After the war he resumed the newspaper business and at the time of his death in 1904 was an editorial writer on the Chicago Chronicle. L. P. Harvey was governor of the state from January 6 to April 19, 1862, his career being tragically cut short by drowning while engaged in a mission of succor to Wisconsin’s soldiers wounded in the battle of Pittsburg Landing. Myron H. Orton was born in New York in 1810 and came to Wisconsin in 1849, settling first at Milwaukee and a few years later at Madison. He was a lawyer by profession. He died at Madison in 1860. Jared C. Gregory was born in New York in 1823 and died at Madison in 1892. He served for twelve years as a regent of the University of Wisconsin and from 1880 until his death as a curator of the State Historical Society. Jairus C. Fairchild came to Madison from Ohio in 1846. Two years later he became the first treasurer of the state of Wisconsin, and in 1853 failed of election to the governorship by only two votes. From the time of his first coming to Madison until his death in 1862 he occupied positions of prominence in the city and the state.

[54] Thomas Graham and Thomas St. George of Racine.

[55] Miss L. L. Coues. Because of lack of funds the board of directors early in 1861 suspended indefinitely the public high school. Miss Coues thereupon proposed, if the board would grant her the free use of the building and equipment, to maintain a high school free of expense to the board, on a tuition basis. Afterward the arrangement was modified so as to make the school one for girls only. Such, for two years, were the high school facilities afforded the young people of Madison.

[56] Milton S. Griswold of Waukesha and William Fallows of Hanchettville. Griswold was graduated from the university in 1863, became a lawyer, and practiced first at Madison and later at Waukesha, where he served at different times as county judge. For an interesting account of his pedagogical proclivities while at the university, see John Muir’s Story of My Boyhood and Youth, 280-82.

[57] Stephen D. Carpenter, locally prominent as editor, publisher, and inventor. He located in Madison in 1850 and thereafter for many years was intermittently engaged in the printing and publishing business. In 1853 he invented a pump which is said by one authority to have brought him $35,000. Among other inventions of his were a power-press, a voting-machine, and a type-setting machine. He claimed to have invented the first mechanical knotter for binding grain. In later life his prosperity departed. He died at Carthage, Missouri, in October, 1906.

[58] John G. McMynn, noted Wisconsin teacher and educator. He came to the state about the year 1848, settling first at Kenosha and then at Racine. He served as manager of the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company, regent of the University of Wisconsin, superintendent of the Racine public schools, and state superintendent of public instruction. During the war he rose to the colonelcy of the Tenth Wisconsin Infantry. He died at Madison in June, 1900.

[59] Thus the first of the seventy thousand soldiers who were to pass through Camp Randall during the next few years departed for the war. Of this farewell, and the further record of the regiment Reid wrote in old age as follows:

“On the twentieth day of June, the entire student force of the university formed part of the throng which assembled at the railroad depot to witness the departure of that gallant regiment, which was destined, before the return of its remnant to the state, to earn the proud but sad record of losing in battle more men in proportion to its numbers than any other regiment which fought on either side among the great hosts engaged in the tremendous struggle. That twenty per cent of its entire enlistment fell dead on battlefields during three years’ service cannot, indeed, be said of any other regiment of any nation in modern times.”

Pg 64



The first volume of verse printed in Wisconsin and written by a resident of that state, was long supposed to be a volume by Elizabeth Farnsworth Mears entitled, Voyage of Pere Marquette and the Romance of Charles de Langlade, or the Magic Queen. This book was published at Fond du Lac in 1860.[60] Recently, however, three different books of early Wisconsin verse have been discovered antedating Mrs. Mears’s work, and since they are without doubt the earliest attempts at versification made in the Badger State, it seems worth while to describe them.

The earliest is a hitherto unknown edition of a book which is humorously described by “Nym Krinkle” in his Chronicles of Milwaukee. Two editions of this book were published in New York in 1848 and 1849, but the edition recently discovered was issued in Milwaukee in 1846 and, though bearing no imprint, is without doubt the production of a western press.[61] Its title is as follows: “The History/ of/ Black Hawk,/ with which is interwoven/ a Description/ of the/ Black Hawk War/ and other/ Scenes in the West/ by E. H. Smith/ Milwaukee/ 1848./ 12mo. pp. 6 120.” This title is somewhat shorter than those of the later editions and the text varies considerably from that of the later issues. This edition has no illustrations, but the New York editions have several. The only copy that can be traced of this firstling of the “Wisconsin Muse” is in the Harris Collection of American Poetry in the library of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

The next in point of time is a curious book, or pamphlet, with title as follows: “The/ Poetical/ Geography, [cut of lyre]/ with the Rules of Arithmetic in Verse, &c. &C./ By George Van Waters/ Published for the Author by Sidney L. Rood,/ Bookseller,/ Milwaukee:/ Pg 65 Wilson & King,/ 1848,”/ This is a duodecimo of ninety-six pages, with green paper covers. The cover title is somewhat longer: “The/ Poetical Geography,/ made to accompany any of the/ Common School Atlases;/ to which is added/ The Rules of Arithmetic,/ and a sketch of English History,/ in Verse./ by George Van Waters./ This work is sold by subscription and cannot be obtained/ at any bookstore in the United States./ Milwaukee:/ Wilson & King./ 1848./ Price 25 cents.”/

The end cover contains an advertisement of a line of stage coaches: “To the Travelling Public/ Stage Routes from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”/ Signed, “John Frink & Co., Proprietors,” The routes are to Galena, Green Bay, Janesville, Madison, Fort Winnebago, Dixon, Chicago, Sheboygan, and other places.

Mr. Legler informs me that he has another edition, which was published at Cincinnati. Several of the poems contain local allusions to Wisconsin.

The book begins with “Geographical Definitions,” and the first lines describe geography:

The surface of the Earth, with all its tribes
Of sea and land Geography describes.

The divisions of water are next described, beginning with the following couplet:

An ocean is a vast extent of brine,
Or salt sea water boundless and sublime.

Lakes are described as—“

Fresh water seas, by land surrounded;
As Lake Champlain, whose waves by land are bounded.

Couplets similar to these follow on straits, channels, sounds, rivers, and other divisions of water. After explanation necessary to the use of maps, there follows a poetical chapter on North America. Its capes and rivers are poetically described and then, in turn, its towns, each state being separately mentioned. The author begins with Maine and ends with his own state, Wisconsin. A chapter on British America is next in order and this in turn is followed by chapters on Mexico, Guatamala, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The book ends with rhymed delineations of islands, volcanoes, and “The Rules of Arithmetic” and a sketch of English Pg 66 history. A number of notes are interspersed throughout the work, and a prose preface follows the title. A rhymed introduction is also introduced.

This book and also the following are in the fine collection of Wisconsin poetry formed by Mr. Henry E. Legler, now in the possession of Mr. Henry C. Sturges of New York.[62]

Probably the earliest specimen of German verse written in Wisconsin, is that from the pen of one of the German immigrants of 1848. Its title is: “Lieder/ aus/ Wisconsin/ von/ Adolf Schults./ Elberfeld und Iserlohn./ Verlag von Julius Bädeker./ 1848.”/ This is a 16mo. pamphlet of forty-one pages followed by an unnumbered page.

The copy I have seen has blue paper covers, with the title on the cover the same as the foregoing. On the back cover are advertisements.

The pamphlet begins with a dedication to “Carl de Haas, Ph.D. The friend of my youth, later schoolmaster in Wupperthal [the author’s birthplace] and now farmer in Fond du Lac (Wis.).”

The first poem is entitled “Europa, alternde Königin.” The opening verse follows:

Europa, alternde Königin,
Dein abend ist gekommen!
Der fröhliche Morgen ist dahin,
Der Mittagstrahl verglommen.

The fifth and last stanza runs:

Europa, sterbende Königin,
Er wird die Herrschaft erben!
Die Krone, die dunkt ihm kein Gewinn,
Die lasst er Dir im Sterben.

Another poem is on the “Thal der Wupper, Mein Heimathland.” The eighth poem in the book is a stirring one on the Missouri River, “Missouri, Missouri, der mächtiger Strom,” while another is addressed to the author’s fatherland. In this he cries to the land of his birth, the land from which he has been exiled. The book contains altogether thirty-six different poems.

On the back cover is an advertisement of another book of verses by the same writer, “Märzlieder,” which is advertised “to appear shortly.” The publisher also advertises another book of interest Pg 67 to the Wisconsin collector,—“Nordamerika Wisconsin. Winke für auswanderer von Dr. Carl de Haas. Farmer in Wisconsin.” This is described as the second edition, with three views and a map of Wisconsin. The statement is made that the first edition of one thousand copies was sold within four weeks. “Gedichte von Henriette Davidis, second edition,” is also advertised. This book was printed by the Groteschen Buchdruckerei in Arnsberg.

These three books are probably the earliest volumes of verse written and published by Wisconsin poets. They are of interest not only because of this fact but because each one relates in some way to Wisconsin.

Oscar Wegelin


Usage in spelling names was very irregular in the seventeenth century. People spelled a name (or a word) just as it came into their minds to do so, without fixed rules or custom. Thus the spelling of the name of the discoverer of the Mississippi was varied—all the following forms being used: Joliet, Jolliet, Jolyet, Jollyet. Sometimes all forms were employed in the same document. Marquette in writing an account of his explorations speaks of his companion as “Jolyet,” “Jollyet,” and “Jolliet” indifferently.[64]

Under such circumstances it remains to be decided what the present usage is, and on what facts it is based. Many, indeed most English writers, follow Parkman, the greatest of our historians who have written on this subject, and use the form with one “l”—“Joliet.” This has become a part of geographical usage, and we have, for instance, Joliet, Illinois and Indiana, and Mount Joliet. And Dr. R. G. Thwaites, in his Jesuit Relations,[65] uses the one “l” in his spelling of the name. Later, however, Doctor Thwaites became convinced that the double “l” was the better form and often so remarked to his assistants.

Pg 68 The change from “Joliet” to “Jolliet” is based first on the constant custom of French writers, both in the Old World and the New. Pierre Margry, the great French archivist, the most learned man of his time concerning New France documents, always speaks of Jolliet. Félix Martin of the Jesuit order, who wrote in 1861, uses Jolliet. Father Tailhan, the learned editor of Perrot’s Memoire, uses Jolliet. The same is true of John G. Shea, Henri Harrisse, Abbé Ferland, and Jolliet’s latest biographer, Ernest Gagnon, who in 1902 published a life of Jolliet derived from many newly discovered and hitherto unpublished manuscripts. All these authors were familiar with the seventeenth-century documents in the original form. They decided that “Jolliet” was used more often and more consistently than any other form, though all of them would admit that in many documents the spelling “Joliet” may be found. For example, the baptismal register[66] spells the name by which Jolliet was christened, “Joliet.” While still a boy in the convent at Quebec he was known as young Joliet.[67]

After Jolliet entered active life the name was usually spelled with two “l’s.” His earliest voyage is reported by the Sulpician, Galinée, who met him in 1669 at the head of Lake Erie and calls him “le sieur Jolliet.”[68] In 1671 he took part in the pageant of Sault Ste. Marie, when he was again spoken of as “le sieur Jolliet.”[69] Father Claude Dablon, who first reported the voyage of 1673, says, August 1, 1674, “le sieur Jolliet” has come back from the West.[70] Count de Frontenac, the governor-general of New France, in his first mention of the voyager, speaks of him as “Joliet”;[71] but thereafter in reporting his voyage and mentioning his maps he always writes the name “Jolliet.”[72] Several unsigned documents of the same period refer to him as “Jolliet.”[73] In 1677 a concession in Illinois Pg 69 was refused to “le sieur Jolliet.”[74] In 1680 a concession of the island of Anticosti was made to “Jolliet.”[75] Many more similar documents could be cited showing that the prevalent use in the seventeenth century was the form “Jolliet.”

Lastly, how did the man himself write his name? A map published in Dr. R. G. Thwaites’s Jesuit Relations,[76] gives in the cartouche a letter signed “Joliet.” This has usually been supposed to be the explorer’s writing. A glance, however, at two authentic signatures will convince that he never wrote the name on the map. The first signature is from a tracing secured by Henry Legler for an article in the Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1905, page 169. The second is the signature to the marriage contract of which a facsimile is given in Gagnon, page 122. A glance will show that these two names were written by the same hand, and both are spelled “Jolliet.”

In view, therefore, of first, the usage of the best French authors; second, the usage of the latter part of the seventeenth century, or contemporary usage; and third, the signature of the explorer himself, the spelling “Jolliet” is believed to be the proper one.

Louise P. Kellogg


The Wisconsin Historical Society recently purchased an important file of the New York Weekly Journal, consisting of 136 numbers, ranging from December 17, 1733 to July 11, 1737. Bound in the same volume with these issues of the second newspaper printed in New York is an imprint of excessive rarity—namely, the first edition of A Brief Narrative of the Case and Tryal of John Peter Zenger, 1736. Probably only one other copy—that in the New York Public Library—is extant. It is a folio of forty pages, printed by Zenger himself, without a separate title-page. At the head of the first page is this title: “A Brief Narrative of the Case and Try/al of John Peter Zenger, Printer of the/ New York weekly Journal.”/ The caption set between rows of printer’s ornaments, Pg 70 and the colophon reads: “New York, Printed and sold by John Peter Zenger. MDCCXXXVI.” There are two lines of errata above the colophon. The most striking peculiarity of the edition is to be found in the pagination, pages 15 to 40 being numbered 17 to 42. James Alexander prepared the narrative for publication.

There are numerous editions of the Trial, including four published in London in 1738. The present copy is in unusually fine condition and the Wisconsin Historical Society is to be congratulated upon the possession (acquired with little effort, it is whispered) of this superlatively rare colonial imprint. It was picked up, so to speak, in the East, almost at the threshold of several institutions that would give much to place it upon their shelves. If put upon the market, it is not unlikely that the pamphlet would realize several thousand dollars. But, of course, no library ever parts with such a treasure.

Of the life of John Peter Zenger little is known. He was born in Germany in 1697, but the name of his native place is not recorded. He is said to have been one of a large company of Palatines who were sent to America by Queen Anne in 1710. After serving an apprenticeship of eight years to William Bradford, the printer, dating from October 26, 1711, Zenger went to Maryland. Returning to New York, he there married Anna Catharina Maulin on September 11, 1722. This was his second marriage, the date of the first being unknown. For a short time he was Bradford’s partner. One book only is known to bear their joint imprint. In 1726 he started business on his own account, and it is interesting to note that he printed the first arithmetic issued in the colony—Vanema’s Arithmetica, 1730.

The administration of William Cosby as governor of New York, 1732-1736, was marked by many arbitrary acts, which aroused deep public indignation. “The oppressions,” writes Mr. Livingston Rutherfurd in his useful book,[78] “culminated in the trial of John Peter Zenger which was one of the most stirring incidents of colonial days. Its results were of greater magnitude than any of the participants could have imagined. It established the freedom of the press in Pg 71 North America, it wrought an important change in the law of libel, and marked the beginning of a new era in popular government.” Nor is this an overstatement of the case; for the trial of this humble printer constitutes an important episode in our colonial history.

The establishment of the New York Weekly Journal came as the result of a determination on the part of the popular leaders to show Governor Cosby to the people of the colony in his true colors. Zenger, its printer, was probably aided financially in the venture. The first number was issued November 5, 1733—a folio of four pages. The chief contributors were Lewis Morris, James Alexander, William Smith, Cadwallader Colden, and Lewis Morris Jr. Apparently, Alexander was the editor, for among his papers are many articles intended for publication in the Journal. Zenger had been indifferently educated, and his skill as a printer was not great. Moreover, he was very poor. He appears to have entered upon the project for commercial considerations only, and without any clear understanding of its political significance or of where it might lead him.

The Journal was the sensation of the hour; in fact, it was so popular that of some numbers three editions were required to satisfy the demand. Although it abounds in errors due to Zenger’s imperfect knowledge of English, it is in every way superior to its competitor, Bradford’s Gazette, the organ of the Governor. “The paper was sold for three shillings per quarter, and advertisements cost three shillings for the first insertion and one shilling for each insertion thereafter.” It contained many articles of merit—and was extremely outspoken!

With such an administration in power it is not surprising that all this resulted in the arrest of Zenger on November 17, 1734, “for printing and publishing several Seditious Libels dispersed throughout his Journals or News Papers, entitled, The New York Weekly Journal, containing the freshest Advices, foreign and domestick.” After many vicissitudes, including nine months of imprisonment, Zenger was defended by Andrew Hamilton, of Philadelphia, an eminent advocate nearly eighty years old, and acquitted. There was much rejoicing among the people, for the victory was indeed a notable one, full of meaning for future generations. Gouverneur Pg 72 Morris declared that “the trial of Zenger in 1735 was the germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America.”

Johm Thomas Lee


A recent request for information on the subject first brought to our attention the novel project of Norman Wiard for establishing a rapid-transit route between Prairie du Chien and St. Paul in 1859. A somewhat cursory examination of contemporary newspaper files revealed the notices of the project which follow. It seems probable that a more thorough search would disclose additional information concerning Wiard’s ingenious project.

The Ice Boat[79]

Prairie du Chien, Dec. 1, 1859.

Editor Courier. Dear Sir: As there have been many conjectures in regard to the Ice Boat published in the various newspapers of the Northwest, I thought that some definite and reliable information in regard to the invention would be of interest to the public.

Norman Wiard Esq., the inventor of the Ice Boat, is now constructing in New York City, an ice boat with a capacity for carrying twenty passengers, and will be here with it about the twentieth of December. He has proved to the satisfaction of some of the most scientific men of New York that his invention is a success.

It is intended by the parties having the route from here to Saint Paul to stock the line this winter, and to be prepared to do all business that may present itself.

The immense advantages arising to the Northwest from this invention must be apparent to all.

Yours truly, John Jay Chase

Pg 73 Ice Boats, Chariots, Cutter—Letter from Mr. Wiard[80]

New York, Nov. 22, 1859.
169 Broadway, Room 35.

J. H. Green, Editor of Leader:

Please say to all, or as much of what I have written as you please, in your own words, for I assure you I believe it all myself, and I believe that many of your readers will be glad to have the information.

Yours truly, Norman Wiard.

Accordingly, we say as requested, that Norman Wiard, inventor of the Ice Boat, will be in Prairie du Chien before long with a twenty-passenger steam ice boat, which he has now in process of construction at New York, and hopes by such means to keep open communication with St. Paul and Prairie du Chien, connecting, always up to time, with the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad.

He will also be prepared with a pioneer machine to level a track, when it is necessary, where the ice is rough. His twenty-passenger boat can be raised or lowered, while in motion or at rest, to enable it to pass through a uniform depth of snow of three feet. It has devices that are ample and practical, by which it can pass over or through snow banks and drifts; even if it should be run into a bank of snow twenty feet in depth and there stopped, it can immediately be passed through it or over it, or be backed out with the greatest facility. It is an amphibious machine, is this Ice Boat, as it can be run off the ice at a speed of twenty miles an hour into the water with safety; and it can propel itself across the water to contact with the ice on the other side, and get out upon the ice and be put again in operation without any material delay. It is, also, almost dangerproof; for, if it should be thrown into the water by accident, on its side, or even bottom up, it would right itself instantly; and about thirty holes would have to be broken in the hull before it could be sunk, even if it were full of water.

Mr. Wiard exhibited a model of his Ice Boat at the fair of the American Institute, N. Y., and received therefor the highest award; the operations of his model corroborate the statements made above; Pg 74 and the minutes of the Polytechnic Club, before whom he exhibited his plans at their request, says [sic] that the working of the model “proved his statements.” The practicability of the boat itself will soon be tested on the ice of the Mississippi, and the judgment which will then be pronounced [will be] a final one.

[Corner torn off] driver only, and can go up and down hill and into the water, safely! “Please to say all this,” says Mr. Wiard, “for I assure you, I believe it all!” So will we all, when we see it, and the sight is promised us.

Mr. John Cleveland, 35 Wall Street, N. Y., is now the trustee of the patent, and by the liberal subscription of a few intelligent and responsible gentlemen of that city Mr. Wiard is enabled to fully develop and test his plans. The machine he is now building is said to be beautiful as well as useful; and it seems likely to attract a number of New Yorkers to visit Prairie du Chien when Mr. Wiard brings it here.

Should this invention prove to be a practical one, Norman Wiard’s name will be ranked along with that of Fulton, Stephenson, and Morse. If his machine should prove valueless, the worst that can or will be said, will be that he deserved success.

The Ice Boat[81]

The Prairie du Chien Leader says it is not, and never has been, the intention of Mr. Wiard to test the practicability of his invention with the boat half built last winter, and which remains in statue [sic] quo yet, being too large, heavy, and unwieldy for the experiment.

[60] See article by Henry E. Legler, Early Wisconsin Imprints: A Preliminary Essay, in Wisconsin Historical Society, Proceedings, 1905, 121.

[61] The Racine Advocate of March 3, 1846, contains a half-column notice of Smith’s book, then newly published at Milwaukee.

[62] Copies of two later editions of the Poetical Geography are owned by the Wisconsin Historical Library. One was published at Cincinnati in 1852, the other at New York in 1853.

[63] This memorandum was prepared for submission to the Committee on State Affairs of the Wisconsin Assembly in April, 1917. A bill had been introduced in the assembly by the committee which provided that the name “Joliet” should be given to the state park at the mouth of the Wisconsin River. As a result of the memorandum, the bill was amended by substituting the spelling “Jolliet” in the name of the park.

[64] [Footnote missing in the original—Transcriber’s note]

[65] R. G. Thwaites, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (Cleveland, 1896-1901), LIX, 86, 121, 123, 159.

[66] Cited by Ernest Gagnon, Louis Jolliet, decouvreur du Mississippi et du pays des Illinois … (Quebec, 1902), 2.

[67] R. G. Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, XXX, 181; L, 191.

[68] L. P. Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest (New York, 1917), 191-92.

[69] P. Margry, Découvertes et Etablissements des Français (Paris, 1876-86), I, 96.

[70] R. G. Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, LVIII, 92, 102.

[71] Margry, I, 255.

[72] Ibid., 257; Henri Harrisse, Notes pour Servir a la histoire … de la nouvelle France et des pays adjacents 1545-1700 (Paris, 1872, 131, 133).

[73] Margry, I, 259-62.

[74] Ibid., 329.

[75] Gagnon (see ante), 157.

[76] LXVIII, 86.

[77] Reprinted by permission from the New York Nation, February 22, 1917.

[78] Livingston Rutherfurd, John Peter Zenger: His Press, His Trial, and a Bibliography of Zenger Imprints (New York, 1904).

[79] From the Prairie du Chien Courier, December 1, 1859.

[80] From the Prairie du Chien Leader, December 8, 1859.

[81] From the Milwaukee Sentinel, December 9, 1859.

Pg 75



The State Historical Society of Wisconsin is now in the sixty-eighth year of its existence. Quiescent during its first few years, with the coming of Lyman C. Draper to the secretaryship of the Society in 1854 it immediately entered upon a period of aggressive activity which has continued without interruption to the present moment. During the sixty years of the remarkable leadership of Dr. Draper and Dr. Thwaites the Society deservedly acquired the reputation of being one of the leading historical organizations of the country. Our library, if not the largest, is one of the best of its kind and in many respects its collections are unique. In other fields of activity, too, the Society’s achievements have been no less creditable to it and to the state it represents.

No sadder disaster could befall the Society, however, than the development on the part of its members of a feeling of serene satisfaction with the record of its achievements. As with all living organisms, we must go forward or retrograde. Only dead ones are static. The manifold life of our state and country is constantly changing. If our Society is to fulfil its proper function, it must constantly strive to adjust itself to the current developments of the world to which it belongs. With the passage of time the ancient good becomes uncouth and it behooves us to assume the new duties which new occasions teach.

In this spirit, after much thought and planning, we launch the Wisconsin Magazine of History. The problem of our historical society differs materially from that of many others, particularly those in the older-settled sections Pg 76 of the country. It must justify the support which the taxpayers so liberally accord by rendering to the public the fullest possible measure of service, and to this ideal it has long subscribed. Equally important is it, however, that the public should be aware of the facilities for service which the Society possesses in order that these may be utilized. It is believed that the publication of a quarterly magazine, devoted to the historical interests of the state will afford a better avenue of communication with the Society’s members and the general public than has been possessed heretofore. Without sacrificing in any way the scholarly ideals of the Society, it is hoped to make the magazine as interesting as may be to the ordinary reader. As our immediate constituency we have in mind the seven hundred members of the Society, whose tastes and interests, we have faith to believe, are shared by thousands of other citizens of Wisconsin. The historical interests of the professional scholars among our membership are catered to by numerous historical reviews, but no publication meets the needs of the far greater proportion of our members who are not included in this group. To this constituency, primarily, it is hoped the magazine will appeal. If this hope shall be realized we will account the magazine a success. If it shall be disappointed, on the contrary, the energies of the Society’s working force will be directed to more fruitful ends as soon as this fact shall have been established.


How many, we wonder, of those into whose hands this magazine may come are aware that the beautiful banner represented on its cover is the official state flag of Wisconsin? That the number is much smaller than it should be is certain. When we set out in quest of an example of our state flag, our first application was at the nearby armory, but the officer in charge confidently assured us that Wisconsin has no state flag, and appealed to Webster’s New International to support Pg 77 his assertion. Notwithstanding the evidence of both soldier and dictionary, for over fifty years Wisconsin regiments have carried the state flag, although its legal definition and precise present design date back only to 1913. That our beautiful banner, hallowed on many a bloody battlefield, is so little known to our citizens is not at all to our credit. Nor is it creditable that the service flags in the hands of the custodian of public property at the capitol fail in almost every respect to conform to the official specifications for the state flag as set forth in the statutes.


Members and friends of the Society may congratulate themselves, on the whole, on the treatment accorded it by the state legislature of 1917. In view of economic and political conditions generally, and of the local political situation in particular, it was to have been expected that the legislators would scrutinize our budget estimates with care, and that enthusiasm for new advances, whether in work or in appropriations, would be conspicuous by its absence. It is gratifying to record that the members of the joint finance committee of the two houses accorded the representatives of the Society an appreciative hearing and manifested a desire to provide for its activities during the coming biennium with enlightened, albeit prudent, liberality. Since the task of presenting the Society’s needs to the legislature devolves chiefly upon the writer of these lines, the occasion is gladly improved to acknowledge in particular the broad-minded attitude of Senator Platt Whitman of Highland, and Assemblyman E. A. Everett of Eagle River, chairmen of the joint finance committee.

From one point of view, however, the present financial situation of the Society is far from gratifying. It is running on substantially the same budget as was first laid down in 1912, and this will, of course, continue to be the case at least Pg 78 until July 1, 1919. No one who is mature enough to be reading these lines, need be told that the purchasing power of a given sum of money has shrunk alarmingly since 1912. In effect, therefore, the Society’s income has decreased in recent years in proportion as the cost of living generally has steadily increased. To take a single illustration, the cost of heating the library building in the year ending June 30, 1916, was (in round numbers) $5,500; for the succeeding fiscal year it was $7,400; while the estimates for the year just entered upon call for an expenditure of $11,000 for this purpose. Obviously the library building must continue to be heated. It follows, therefore, with the total income of the Society stationary from year to year, that the additional sum required for coal must be gained by curtailing other activities of the Society, which constitute its real excuse for existence. The importance of this subject is such that a suitable occasion will be sought later to lay it before our readers in fuller detail.




Several other matters of peculiar interest to the historically-minded citizens of Wisconsin were acted upon by the recent legislature. We record with chief pleasure in this connection the provision made for the preservation of our first territorial capitol at Belmont (now Leslie). Eleven years ago the superintendent of the Society, Dr. Thwaites, made an effort to secure the restoration of this quondam statehouse for a region imperial in extent, and the story of his effort is told in the Proceedings of the Society for 1906. At that time the legislature failed to act upon his sensible advice, however, and the matter was allowed to drop. At the recent legislative session, Mr. M. P. Rindlaub of Platteville, veteran editor of southern Wisconsin, took up anew the agitation for the preservation of the capitol building. This time the advice was heeded and the sum of $3,000 was appropriated Pg 79 for the purpose in view. Mr. Rindlaub’s plan contemplated the removal and renovation of the capitol and the making of provision for a permanent caretaker who, under the control of the state conservation commission, should look after it. For these objects the sum of $10,000 was asked. The amount granted will suffice but partially to execute the entire project, but it will at least insure the permanent preservation of the building.

The action of the legislature in naming the state park at the mouth of the Wisconsin was, in our opinion, distinctly unwise. Citizens of Wisconsin do not need to be reminded that the historical association which provided the driving motive for securing this splendid tract for a state park preserve several years ago was the discovery of the Mississippi River at this point by the famous expedition of Jolliet and Marquette in 1673. Because of this fact, and of the additional one that the park was bought by and belongs to the entire state, the name either of Jolliet or Marquette should unquestionably have been given to the park. As between these two there would perhaps be little reason for preference were it not for the fact that Marquette has twice been signally honored by the state (by naming a county for him and by choosing him as one of the two Wisconsin characters whose statue is placed in the national capitol) while to Jolliet no recognition, official or otherwise, has ever been accorded in Wisconsin.

Curiously enough, the park has been allowed to exist for several years without a legal name. During this time residents of the vicinity developed the habit of calling it Glenn Park, after former Senator Glenn who sold the land to the state, while the conservation commission, as a matter of convenience, referred to it as Marquette Park. When a bill was introduced at the recent legislative session providing that the park be officially named after Senator Glenn, a number of officers and members of the Society bestirred themselves Pg 80 to defeat the measure through the process of enlightening the legislature with respect to the historical and other considerations involved. It is proper to record in this connection that Assembly Kurtenacker of La Crosse, on being apprised of the situation, cheerfully joined with the representatives of the Society in the effort to have the bill which he had himself introduced by request, killed in committee. This effort met with success, and the assembly committee on state affairs reported a bill to the lower chamber providing that the park be named in honor of Jolliet. The assembly passed the bill, but in the senate it was amended by substituting for Jolliet the name of Nelson Dewey, first governor of the state, and in this form it became a law.

We believe that the motive which prompted the senate amendment was laudable, but that the judgment displayed was weak. Apparently the impression that the park should be considered in some peculiar sense as a perquisite of the people of southwestern Wisconsin, as opposed to the state as a whole, could not be surmounted. With no remote desire to detract from the fame or merit of Governor Dewey, we do not think the mere circumstance of his residence having been at Cassville constitutes a pertinent reason for giving his name to this park, the very existence of which is due to the famous discovery of June 17, 1673. Incidentally, however, the entire discussion was productive of good, since it called the attention of the public anew to the value and significance of the factor of historical associations in the selection of place names.


Another park development of the past year which is peculiarly gratifying to the State Historical Society pertains to the new state park at Trempealeau. For many years the Society has been actively interested in this locality because of the richness of its historical associations. In particular, in recent years a series of historical articles pertaining to the Pg 81 locality written by Dr. Eben D. Pierce, member and curator of the Society, has been published in the volumes of Proceedings. Largely through these activities the interest of Mr. Latsch, a leading business man of Winona, was awakened to the desirability of securing historic Trempealeau Mountain and the adjoining river frontage as a permanent park preserve. To this end he purchased some 800 acres of land including the mountain and the adjoining river bluffs, and offered the whole as a gift to the State Historical Society. Because the Society lacks the facilities for administering such a trust, on the Superintendent’s recommendation the gift was diverted to the conservation commission, which is admirably qualified to administer it. At the time of writing these lines (July, 1917) it only remains to complete certain legal details when the formal transfer of the property to the state will be made. Thus the famous peak, noted by Pike and Schoolcraft and many another early explorer, together with the site of ancient Fort Perrot, one of the earliest establishments of civilized man in the upper Mississippi Valley, is added to our already splendid system of state parks. Aside from the historical associations of the place, the river scenery at this point is rarely impressive and beautiful; while Trempealeau Mountain itself is said to be peculiarly rich in botanical specimens.

But by what authority, it may be asked, have we headed this editorial “Perrot State Park.” Pressed for an answer, we must admit that the title expresses a hope merely, rather than a consummation already realized. One of the motives, we understand, responsible for the interest Mr. Latsch has shown in the matter was a feeling of veneration for his boyhood home and for his Swiss father who settled in Latsch Valley some two generations ago. Under the circumstances it would not be strange if the donor, following the example long since set by a notable giver of libraries to the American public, should impose as a condition of his gift to the state Pg 82 the requirement that the park be named in honor of his father. We understand, instead, that Mr. Latsch himself desires the park to be named in honor of Nicolas Perrot, the famous French explorer, who passed the winter of 1685-86 a short distance down the river from Trempealeau Mountain and within the confines of the new state park. The fine modesty and sense of historical appreciation displayed by Mr. Latsch in thus desiring to honor the intrepid explorer require no words of commendation at our hands. We may express the hope, however, that when a future state legislature shall come to the task of bestowing a legal name on the park, it will possess a like degree of judgment concerning the historical fitness of things. Perhaps Mr. Latsch might insure this in advance by making the gift of the land to the state dependent upon its acceptance of the name of Perrot for the park.


From the beginning of Wisconsin’s development until the close of the nineteenth century, lumbering constituted one of the chief sources of the state’s wealth and business activity. In 1860 the lumber industry, still in its infancy in Wisconsin, ranked second only to agriculture in importance. The story of its rise and decline constitutes one of the most important and thrilling chapters in our history as a state. In this respect our history conforms to the general rule that in every new country the natural resources closest at hand are the first to be exploited. Well had it been for state and nation had our lumbermen, in their mad rush to transmute our magnificent forests into gold, paid more regard to the welfare of future generations and squandered less recklessly this splendid “gift of the ages.”

This statement of these reflections brings us to the point of suggesting the broader historical significance of Mr. Bracklin’s article in the present number of the Wisconsin Magazine of History. One of the prolific factors making Pg 83 for the waste of our lumbering resources was fire. In the words of a recent writer this was “the dread scourge of the lumber industry.” The sawmills and sawmill towns, flimsily constructed of inflammable pine, were periodically swept by the flames. Although the mills and mill towns were commonly rebuilt with characteristic American vigor, the forest fires were the source of appalling loss to the state. Yet the public mind was for many years indifferent to these losses, and the fires were commonly left to burn themselves out, with no human effort to impede or check the course of the flames. In 1864 one of the greatest conflagrations which had ever visited the state swept for weeks through the northern pinery regions, yet so indifferent were the people of southern Wisconsin to the matter that it received scarcely any notice in the newspapers of this section.

Our numerous forest fires, then, have possessed not only thrilling human interest but vast economic significance. Mr. Bracklin’s narrative describes a single personal experience with one small forest fire. What he experienced and here describes, however, applies with suitable variation of details to hundreds of similar events in Wisconsin. In this fact consists its broader significance.


It seems evident, from the sources of information at our command, that the Imperial German Government counted largely on its ability to neutralize the national will of America by fostering among Americans of German descent a spirit of disloyalty to their country. That the citizens of the Badger State in particular could thus be cajoled into playing a traitor’s rôle was not only believed in Germany, but widely feared in our own country as well. That our citizens of German descent should be enthusiastic about going into the war was not reasonably to have been expected; that, faced with a hard duty, they should prefer to play the rôle of Pg 84 traitor is quite another matter. We do not believe, and from the beginning have not feared, that any considerable number will make such a choice.

In such a time of trial and stress as the present we are fairly entitled to gain what comfort we may from an examination of our past. The simple truth is that, with the possible exception of the Spanish War, we enter upon the present struggle with more of unanimity and resolution than has been the case with any other great war in our history. Of our unfortunate divisions and discords during the Revolution and the War of 1812 every schoolboy is informed. The North had little enthusiasm for the Mexican War and largely abstained from participation in it. The Civil War was a fratricidal contest, but the South eliminated from consideration, the people of the North were sadly divided in counsels and desires. That this was true of Wisconsin has been largely forgotten by our citizens. The present generation has forgotten, if indeed it was ever aware of, the fact that Wisconsin was the seat of a formidable copperhead sentiment during the war; that there was widespread opposition to the enforcement of the draft by the federal government; and that a largely attended mass meeting at the state capital in April, 1861, after the firing on Fort Sumter, laid on the table a resolution pledging support to President Lincoln. It is true the local paper declared, in the latter instance, that a majority of those present favored the resolution but were circumvented in their desire by the chairman of the meeting; but even so it is evident that there must have been a large element of opposition to have enabled him to carry through the maneuver. Notwithstanding the deliberation with which the recent legislature went about expressing its support of the national government, it requires no hardihood to affirm that no chairman of a public gathering, however traitorous his desire, could have prevented a Madison audience of 1917 from expressing its intention of standing behind the national government.

Pg 85 To touch for a moment upon another matter, the political ideals of the period preceding the Civil War were shockingly low in comparison with those of the present time. If there has been any graft in connection with the construction of our new $7,000,000 capitol, the public is as yet totally unconscious of the fact. Three-quarters of a century ago, on the contrary, we could not build even a forty-thousand-dollar capitol without a riot of mismanagement and dishonesty. The period of “Barstow and the balance,” and of the “forty thieves” signifies more than the addition of a picturesque phrase to our political annals. Instead of constituting a rare exception, the political morality which these phrases suggest was painfully commonplace in Wisconsin prior to the Civil War. It was only a few years before we entered upon that great struggle that a powerful corporation brazenly established a pay-counter at the capital and bought with paltry silver the entire state legislature, and even the governor himself. Idealists are by no means satisfied with the political standards and practices of our public men of the present day, but they are lily-white in comparison with the similar standards of the fifties in Wisconsin.

Or again, let us glance by way of comparison at the financial situation. The diary of Harvey Reid, published elsewhere in this magazine, affords an inkling, at least, of our deplorable financial condition in 1861. The national banking-system still lay in the womb of the future, while the treacherous “wild cats” flourished at the expense alike of private fortunes and public credit. With the first breath of war these institutions toppled in headlong ruin, notwithstanding that the state legislature, heedless of constitutional prohibitions, essayed vainly to prevent the crash. Within four days after the news of the firing on Fort Sumter, specie payments were suspended in Wisconsin; and the efforts of the government to float a war loan of $1,200,000 on the credit Pg 86 of the state of Wisconsin in the summer of 1861 met with dismal and inglorious failure.

We do not remind the present generation of these things in any pharisaical attitude, but for the encouragement they afford to us at this time. The outstanding fact is that in the very face of such conditions as we have adverted to, Wisconsin girded herself for the task and played a noble part in the Civil War. We enter the present struggle immeasurably better prepared from almost every viewpoint than we did the one of old. If, as we believe, our people still retain a fair measure of pluck and ability, the record we are about to make should be correspondingly better than that of fifty years ago.

Pg 87


The Wisconsin Historical Library has long maintained a bureau of historical information for the benefit of those who care to avail themselves of the service it offers. In “The Question Box” will be printed from time to time such queries, with the answers made to them, as possess sufficient general interest to render their publication worth while.


You will recall the little church in Ephraim where you gave us your historical address a few years ago. This church was built in 1857, dedicated in 1859, and has been in continuous use ever since.

I have wondered if there is any older church still in use in Wisconsin. I have gone through the records of two-thirds of the counties of the state and, while I have found that many churches were erected prior to this, these have all been superseded by later structures. I wonder if your staff can give me any assistance in ascertaining the existence of any older house of worship?

H. R. Holand,
Ephraim, Wisconsin.

One of the oldest church buildings in Wisconsin is undoubtedly that known as The Old Mission on Madelaine Island. This was built in 1839 and dedicated in 1840 for the American Board of Home Missions, now part of the Presbyterian denomination. This building is now used for worship at least during the summer season, but has not been so employed consecutively, as it was closed in the fifties and not reopened until 1892. In 1901 is was removed to its present location, and restored and redecorated in 1915.

The oldest frame church in Wisconsin was built in 1839 at Kellogg’s Corners, now Sylvania, in Racine County, for the use of the Methodist denomination. So far as we can ascertain, the old church is still standing, but whether or not it is now used for service we are not informed.

Pg 88 There is a country church near Waterford in Racine County which was built in 1846 and is still in excellent condition and in active use. Only last year it was thoroughly renovated at a cost of some $3,500—several times as much as the original cost of the building. This church stands in what is known as the English Settlement by reason of the fact that the community was largely settled by immigrants from England in the early forties. The church is unique both in its organization and in its history.

It is evident, therefore, that while your church at Ephraim may be among the older structures of the state still used for religious services, it cannot claim the honor of priority in this respect.


I am preparing recollections of early days in the Fox River Valley and will be pleased to supply you with results of my efforts in this direction. I am somewhat confused on some of the items, especially the establishment of the first saw and grist mill on the south or east side (my old home), of the river and across from Kaukauna. My friend, Mr. John D. Lawe, son of the late George W. Lawe, writes me that James M. Boyd and Paul Hudon dit Beaulieu, my grandfather, “built a saw mill along the rapid,” etc. The date given by Mr. Lawe for the building of the saw mill is 1832. A few years later my father, Bazil H. Beaulieu, came in possession of both mills. I was told when I was a boy that the mills were originally built by the federal government for the use and purposes of the Menominee, as also of the Brothertown Indians, the latter being now scattered on farms on the east shore of Lake Winnebago, across from Oshkosh. Furthermore, I was told that the said mills were the second of the kind built in Wisconsin, then the territory of Michigan. Have you any facts or data at hand which might serve to verify or throw more light on the subject?

T. H. Beaulieu,
White Earth, Minnesota.

With regard to the Fox River Valley mills, the earliest, both saw and grist, were built by Jacob Franks on Devil’s River some time shortly after 1800. They afterwards came into the possession of John Lawe, and were operated by him for many years. Pierre A. Grignon built a grist mill on Reaume or Glaize Creek in 1810. This was used to provide food for the war parties of Robert Dickson in Pg 89 the War of 1812. The miller was Grignon’s brother-in-law, Dominique Brunette usually called Masca.

Augustin Grignon built a grist mill at Kaukauna on the north side of the stream, about 1818. Two years later the United States government had a sawmill erected at Little Rapids to prepare material for Fort Howard and its outlying buildings.

In 1821-22 the Menominee, who had a village at South Kaukauna, sold a large tract to the New York Indians. In the latter year the Stockbridge began to move to their tract, which began just above the Menominee village. The government had built for the Stockbridge Indians a sawmill, which was finished some time before 1830. At that date a grist mill was proposed by the Stockbridge. Probably that was when your father took over the mills and repaired them, and perhaps enlarged them. The Brothertown Indians were settled with the Stockbridge, and removed with them to the east side of Lake Winnebago. The Menominee Indians had mills built for them by the government, but that was after the Treaty of 1846, and they were built much higher up the river, at or near Menasha.


I am collecting materials for a life of Col. E. E. Ellsworth and would ask if you have in your library anything concerning his drilling of the Governor’s Guard in your city in the space between 1858 and 1860. I understand that his stay was not very long, a few weeks probably, but I cannot state definitely the year. It would be a great help to me if you would look up this matter, and if you could send me full information and copies of important phases relating in any manner to his sojourn in your town, I would be greatly obliged. I am in this work simply to resurrect and save from oblivion the history of a great and martyred name of our country, one which has been strangely neglected. The more I study into his life and collect the materials from scattered and almost forgotten sources, the more I am convinced that he was a young man of remarkable genius, worthy of perpetuation in the annals of the nation.

From the success that has so far rewarded my search, I am encouraged to believe that ere long I will be in possession of everything of real importance that belonged to his career. I was well acquainted with his father and my home is within easy reach of his birthplace. Pg 90 and of Mechanicsville, New York, where he was buried and where a fine monument stands to his memory.

C. A. Ingraham,
Cambridge, New York.

We find in our collections a few memorials of E. E. Ellsworth that we think would interest you. In an old book of autographs there is a tiny photograph that has been identified as that of Ellsworth. It is only about an inch long and yet it is perfectly clear and well-defined; the uniform shows to great advantage, and there are three medals on the breast of the coat. Among the other relics is a drawing about sixteen inches by twelve, the head of a fine-looking man with lifted eyes. This is signed “Ellsworth” and “EEE.” It was presented to the Society by N. B. Van Slyke, who gave the information that it was a “Sketch drawn by Col. E. E. Ellsworth in 1858 at Madison, Wisconsin, and presented to N. B. Van Slyke while the young man was at Madison.” Pasted upon this drawing are several newspaper slips giving Ellsworth’s biography, the last letter which he wrote to his parents from Washington, May 23, 1861, accounts of his death and funeral, and a poem in his honor.

Upon consulting the Madison newspapers for 1858 we secured the following items: The Governor’s Guard was organized February 18, 1858, with Julius P. Atwood as captain. April 20, the Guard appeared upon the street for the first time trained by Lieutenant C. W. Harris. The Guard was very prominent socially, and gave many balls and soirées. It took part in public celebrations on the Fourth of July, at the university commencement, and at the state fair. June 25, the Guard first appeared in uniform. No mention appears of Ellsworth until Oct. 15, 1858, when a Cadet Corps formed. Twenty-five Madison boys met at the Governor’s Guard Armory, and Maj. E. E. Ellsworth, who was unanimously elected commandant, immediately put the cadets to drill. October 18, the Governor’s Guard was summoned to drill three evenings in the week, no spectators allowed. October 20 the papers contain notices of the drilling of the cadets by their commandant, Maj. E. E. Ellsworth, who “Is an accomplished and thorough drill master.” Another paper says the cadets “are ambitious to become the best drilled company in the State and their aptness has called forth a high compliment from Major Ellsworth.”

Pg 91 An exhaustive search does not reveal his name again. On December 26, 1858, the Governor’s Guard “were out in full uniform for the first time since the State Fair and to us appear much improved in a military point.”

We have not been able to determine what brought Ellsworth to Madison. W. J. Ellsworth lived in the city at the time. Possibly they were kinsmen.

One other relic of Ellsworth’s activities among us is in the Keyes Papers. In 1910, Col. Elisha W. Keyes wrote an article for the Madison Democrat on the organization of the Governor’s Guard. In it he says “Soon after the organization of the guard he [Ellsworth] appeared in Madison and spent much time, without Compensation, in drilling the men. He was then a young man, not much over 30 years of age. He had been an apt student of military science and discipline. His heart and soul were in the work. His enthusiasm was boundless, although at the time of his work here no one hardly dreamed that the rebellion was possible. Before he left he contemplated the full organization of the eighteenth regiment State militia [of which Keyes was then Colonel]. I have in my possession now a roll of maps and instructions for regimental drill, which involved much labor, that he prepared for me, as colonel, without reward.” These drafts came to the Society with Judge Keyes’s other papers. They are large map-like drafts, colored, of the positions of the regiment, and fully written out directions in Ellsworth’s own hand for the various orders for military positions and movements.

Probably you know that Ellsworth’s diary was given to Frank Brownell, his avenger. We have two pamphlets giving liberal excerpts from the diary, but we find therein no mention of Madison. Probably the full text of this diary would show when and why he came to Madison.

Your letter of the nineteenth instant concerning Ellsworth is before me and I wish to thank you earnestly for the time and care which you have devoted to this subject; it illuminates a portion of his career with which I was entirely unacquainted and which to have searched out myself would have involved much expense and inconvenience. Your communication will be excellent to appear verbatim in the book.

Pg 92 I am unable to say as to the identity of W. J. Ellsworth, but I have written to an uncle of Colonel Ellsworth who may be able to shed light on the matter. Colonel Keyes, when he estimated Ellsworth’s age as “not over 30 years” when he was in Madison, was evidently deceived by his remarkable degree of development, which was in advance of his age: at that time he was but twenty-one, having been born April 11, 1837.

Ellsworth’s diary I have not yet unearthed. John Hay’s article published in McClure’s Magazine, VI, 354, has many citations from it, but nothing concerning Madison. Mr. Hay also contributed to the Atlantic, very soon after Ellsworth’s death, a fine article on him (VIII, 119), and the two comprise the best literature so far published on Ellsworth. These two young men were students in Lincoln’s law office, and Mr. Hay all his life down to his last years mourned for him, whom he estimated as a most wonderfully brilliant and patriotically devoted man whose future would have been exceedingly prominent and useful. My own investigations lead me to the same conclusion. Yet he had very few early advantages; practically none, except a limited district school education. His parents, whom I knew, were plain people, and others of the relations whom I have met or corresponded with exhibit nothing out of the common.

C. A. Ingraham,
Cambridge, New York.


We are about to give the play Glory of the Morning. I am under the impression that there was such a character in Wisconsin as “Glory of the Morning,” and that she was married to a Frenchman, and deserted by him, as in the play.

Can you give me any information concerning her?

(Mrs.) F. H. Anderson,
Brooklyn, Wisconsin.

“Glory of the Morning” was an historical character, and one of the staff on the Wisconsin Historical Society related to Professor Leonard the incident on which he founded the play. He has taken poet’s license with certain parts—with the names, for instance, of the son and daughter; but in Wisconsin Historical Collections, VII, 345, you can read the story as told by a French-Canadian trader. “Glory of the Morning” was a Winnebago chieftess, and Jonathan Carver, when very old, saw her at her village near Menasha, Wisconsin. The French officer whose name was Sabrevoir Decorah (also spelled Pg 93 DeCarrie, DesCarie, DeKaury, and other ways), came to Wisconsin probably during the Fox wars of the early eighteenth century. He married the daughter (“Glory of the Morning”) of the head chief of the tribe; resigned from the army, and became a trader. They had two sons and a daughter. When the French and Indian War began Decorah was summoned to become a soldier, and he took his daughter with him to be educated in Canada. The father was killed at the battle of Ste. Foye in 1760. The girl married a Montreal merchant and her son or grandson, Laurent Fily, came to Wisconsin as a trader and lived for many years with Augustin Grignon at Kaukauna. Many of his letters are in the Wisconsin Historical Library.

The two sons of the chieftess became chiefs of the tribe, and had many descendants. The Decorah family in the nineteenth century was the most powerful of the Winnebago families. Several of its members still live in Nebraska. Two years ago an educated Indian girl, teacher of art at Carlisle Indian School, visited Madison. Her maiden name was Angel Decorah, and she traced her lineage directly to “Glory of the Morning.” The Winnebago name of the chieftess was Hopokoékaw.


Will you please give me some information concerning the reservation near Odanah, Wisconsin? I desire to learn the names of the chiefs who ceded the reservation and also the terms of the cession; what each member of the tribe is entitled to receive, and the address of the agent. I am entitled to the same per-capita allotment as other members of the tribe and this fact accounts for my interest in the matter. Please give me, therefore, a history of the reservation.

George Allen,
Bay Shore, Michigan.

The Chippewa of Lake Superior made a final cession of all their lands at a treaty held at La Pointe, September 30, 1844. In return for the cession, the government provided several reservations for the tribesmen. That at Bad River, of which the chief town is Odanah, comprises 124,333 acres of land. This land, at the time the reservation was set aside, was heavily timbered. The Indians were entitled to annuities for twenty years, and each head of a family or single person over twenty-one years of age had the right to eighty acres Pg 94 of land. The chiefs who signed the treaty were members of the La Pointe band.

In 1875 the annuities were paid for the last time, according to the treaty stipulations. Congress, however, in consideration of the Indians’ need, made appropriations to continue the payments for several years. After 1882 the Indian Department permitted the sale of timber from the reservation; logging operations furnished wages for the working Indians, and the sale of the timber placed a considerable sum to their credit. The Chippewa claimed additional sums on treaty stipulations. Whether these claims have ever been settled or not can be ascertained from the Indian Department at Washington. As for the land, by 1913, 83,871 acres had been allotted in eighty-acre tracts to genuine claimants. Enough of the reservation remains for more eighty-acre tracts to be assigned to those who can prove their rights to claims. Timber is still being taken from the reservation.

For further information write to R. S. Buckland, special agent for the Chippewa Indians, Baraga, Michigan; or to Philip S. Everest, superintendent, Ashland, Wisconsin.


I should be pleased to ascertain who was the first white man to pass or voyage past the shores of Sheboygan County, Jolliet and Marquette or Father Claude Allouez? Allouez is said to have been the first to explore the west shore of Lake Michigan, but I have not been able to find out whether he reached Sheboygan County.

Alfonse Gerend,
Cato, Wisconsin.

We dislike very much to say dogmatically who was the first Frenchman to skirt the coast of Lake Michigan south of Sturgeon Bay portage. The more we study the subject the more we are inclined to believe that the records we possess reveal but a fragment of the activities of the French explorers, traders, and missionaries around Green Bay during the seventeenth century. We do not know but that Jean Nicolet may have coasted south in 1634; on the other hand, we do not know that he did. No one has yet been wise enough to lay out the course of the wanderings of Radisson and Groseilliers. For my own part, it seems probable that one of the first, if not Pg 95 the first, white Frenchman who visited all the villages between Green Bay and Chicago was Nicolas Perrot, who between 1665-70 spent five years in the country, much of the time with the Potawatomi tribesmen. Benjamin Sulte, a very careful Canadian investigator, asserts categorically that Perrot was the first white man at Chicago. (Sulte’s articles in French in the Canada Royal Society Proceedings, 1903-13, throw much light on early seventeenth century conditions. They have never been translated, and are known only to a few scholars.) So far as I am able to judge, however, Sulte’s statement is based purely upon inference and is not backed by a written account. Therefore, it is certainly fair to say that the first definite written record of white men skirting the coast of the western shore of Lake Michigan is found in the journal of Father Jacques Marquette, who in September, 1673 came back to Green Bay via the Chicago and Sturgeon Bay portages.

With regard to Father Claude Allouez, I think we can speak with more certainty. He did not go to the Illinois mission until after the death of Marquette. He set out in the autumn of 1676 and wintered among the Potawatomi near Sturgeon Bay. You will find a synopsis of his voyage in Wisconsin Historical Collections, XVI, 96.

You may be interested in seeing a copy of Early Narratives of the Northwest just published by Scribner & Co. This volume contains most of the journals of these early explorers.


Some twenty-five years ago there was a place in Wisconsin called North Greenfield. Evidently the name has been changed for the reason that letters addressed to individuals at that place are returned, with the information that there is no such place in the state.

What is the present name of the locality formerly known as North Greenfield?

Seymour Morris,
Chicago, Illinois.

The post office, situated in Milwaukee County, and known as North Greenfield, changed its name about 1903, when it became West Allis.


If such record exists, I should like to obtain from it a statement of how the individual islands of the Apostle group received their names, and how the group came to be named Apostle Islands.

H. E. Hale,
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The collective name of Apostle Islands for the group off the coast of Chequamegon Bay is nearly two centuries old. The first map on which it appears is that of Bellin in 1744. This was founded on the information given by Father Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, a noted Jesuit missionary, who in 1721 visited the western country as an agent for the French government. Charlevoix did not go into Lake Superior in person, but at Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac he made extensive inquiries of competent observers, and noted down the information given him by traders and officers from that region. Thus he, no doubt, learned that the islands were known to the French who frequented that place as “The Twelve Apostles,” and as such they appear on the map of Bellin that was issued in Charlevoix’s book published in Paris in 1744.

The first English traveler to note these islands was Jonathan Carver, who coasted the shore of Lake Superior in 1767 and on the map published in his volume of Travels (London, 1778) repeats the name “Twelve Apostle Is.”

The first American travelers in that region were those who accompanied Lewis Cass, who in 1820 made an official voyage along the southern shore of Lake Superior. One of the members of this party was James D. Doty, who was afterwards territorial governor of Wisconsin. In Doty’s journal, published in Wisconsin Historical Collections, XIII, 201, he says: “The Islands, called by Charlevoix 'the 12 Apostles,’ extend about 20 miles from point Chegoiamegon.” Another member of the same party was Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who later became Indian agent at Sault Ste. Marie, and married a half-breed Indian girl descended from the Chequamegon chiefs. Schoolcraft proposed to change the name of the Twelve Apostle Islands to Federation Islands. He assigned to the several islands the names of states of the Union, giving that of Virginia to Madelaine, the largest of the group. Schoolcraft’s proposal was not followed, but the Pg 97 present names of York and Michigan Islands seem to remain as part of Schoolcraft’s proposal. Apparently the early traders, counting the islands loosely, thought there were twelve in all, and since the mission was named Mission du Saint Esprit (or Holy Ghost Mission) the name of Twelve Apostles Islands seemed appropriate. There are (we believe) in reality nineteen, nevertheless the name, Apostle Islands, has persisted.

With regard to the several names of the separate islands: We have above accounted for York and Michigan. Outer Island explains itself, as do Ironwood, Oak, Basswood, Sand, Rocky, North and South Twin, Bear, Cat (Wild Cat, no doubt), and Otter. Raspberry Island takes its name from Raspberry River. This name was used in its French form Rivière à la Framboise as early as 1804 (probably earlier). See Wisconsin Historical Collections, XIX, 174. Devil Island and Manitou Island are both the same name. That is, the Indians called all supernatural beings “manitous.” Hermit Island and Stockton Island have probably some local significance from dwellers upon their area. We are not informed concerning them. Madelaine Island has been known by many names. Its present name is that of the wife of an early trader, Michel Cadotte. She was an Indian woman whose father was a local chief. Madelaine was the name she received when baptized. The island was frequently known as St. Michel, or St. Michael’s, from the given name of Cadotte, who was the principal trader on the island for many years. Its Indian name was Moningwanekaning, supposed to mean the Place of the Golden-breasted Woodpecker (hence, sometimes, Woodpecker Island). However, Father Chrysostom Verwyst, a Catholic missionary, now our best authority on Chippewa place names, defines it recently in Acta et Dicta (July, 1916), published by the Catholic Historical Society of St. Paul, as “the place where there are many lapwings.” This island has also been called La Ronde, for a French commandant of the eighteenth century; La Pointe Island, from the name of the region La Pointe du Chequamegon; and Saint Esprit Island from the early Mission du St. Esprit mentioned above. It was also sometimes called Middle Island as lying midway between Sault Ste. Marie and Fort William, the fur-trade post on the northwest of Lake Superior. Sometimes it appears on maps as Montreal Pg 98 Island; the reason for this we do not know; perhaps it was the terminus of the trip from Montreal, Canada, or was so named because some of its inhabitants had been educated at Montreal.

To recapitulate: the largest island of the Apostle Group was first known as Moningwanekaning or Woodpecker or Lapwing; in the eighteenth century as La Ronde, La Pointe, and St. Esprit; was known to the fur traders as Middle and Montreal; was christened by Schoolcraft, Virginia; has been known since about 1800 as Cadotte’s, St. Michael’s, or Madelaine from its early inhabitants, and the baptismal name of the Indian woman has persisted.


I wish to thank you very much for the information you gave me in your letter of October 30, 1916. I would have answered sooner than this but as you requested me to give you a list of my grandfather’s descendants I wanted first to find some one who knew how many children and grandchildren my grandfather, Osh-ka-he-nah-niew, had. I have not been able to get this information from the old members of the tribe, but as soon as I get it I will write you again and let you know.

The name Osh-ka-he-nah-niew in the Menominee Indian language means “young man.”

I received a letter from Mr. J. L. Baity, auditor of the Treasury Department, Washington, D. C., dated November 25, 1916, in which he says:

“With return of the letter from the Superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, dated October 30, 1916, addressed to Mr. Mitchell Oshkenaniew, you are advised that the information set forth in said letter is too meager for the War Department to establish the service of 'Oshkenaniew’ Menominee Indian Warrior Black Hawk War 1832, and until sufficient information can be furnished setting forth the organization in which service was rendered together with the period of service and the names of some commanding officer, no further action will be taken on the claim.”

Mitchell Oshkenaniew,
Neopit, Wisconsin.

Col. George Boyd was Indian agent at Green Bay in the summer of 1832; he replaced Col. Samuel C. Stambaugh early in June. Stambaugh, although superseded, did not immediately leave Green Pg 99 Bay and was very popular with the Menominee tribe. During the course of the war, when all trace of the whereabouts of the Sauk band had been lost, Gen. Henry Atkinson, encamped on Whitewater River in Wisconsin, sent Col. William S. Hamilton (son of Alexander Hamilton) to Colonel Boyd at Green Bay. Atkinson feared that Black Hawk and the Sauk hostiles would attempt to escape to the British at Malden, and he therefore ordered Boyd to enlist and equip as large a body of Menominee Indians as possible to try to intercept them. Boyd at once called the Menominee together. They were willing to go to war against the Sauk if they might have officers of their own choosing. Col. S. C. Stambaugh was thereupon made commander-in-chief. The second place was offered to Col. W. S. Hamilton, but he declined the honor. The Menominee turned out about three hundred warriors, who were organized into two companies commanded by the following officers: 1st Company; Augustin Grignon, captain, Charles A. Grignon Jr., first lieutenant; 2d. Company; George Johnston, captain, James M. Boyd, first lieutenant, William Powell, second lieutenant and interpreter. Alexander J. Irwin was charged with the commissariat with rank of first lieutenant.

There is every reason to suppose that Osh-ka-he-nah-niew was a member of the first company. Augustin Grignon told Doctor Draper that this Indian was in the war, and in all probability he named members of his own command. Robert Grignon of this company received a wound in action, and was in receipt of a pension until his death.

The documentary material in the Wisconsin Historical Library includes the official papers of Col. George Boyd, Indian agent. Those relating to the Menominee contingent under Stambaugh in the Black Hawk War are published in Wisconsin Historical Collections, XII, 270-98. It will be noticed that August 12, 1832, Boyd wrote that Stambaugh had informed him that he had arrived at Fort Winnebago with his command, three hundred Menominees, and was on his way to report to General Scott. September 2, 1832, Boyd wrote to G. B. Porter, governor of Michigan territory, enclosing Stambaugh’s report of the expedition and the Muster Rolls of the Menominee. These should be in the War Department at Washington.

Pg 100 The well-known fact that Osh-ka-he-nah-niew took part in the Black Hawk War, that he was part of Stambaugh’s band, probably under Capt. Augustin Grignon, seems to us established by the historical evidence. His name on a muster roll must be sought in the documentary material at Washington.

Pg 101



Since the sixty-fourth meeting in October, 1916, four life and twenty-four annual members have been enrolled in the State Historical Society. The new life members are: R. C. Ballard-Thruston of Louisville, Kentucky, John Strange of Neenah, Chester Lloyd Jones of Madison, and Harry W. Bolens of Port Washington. The annual members are Dr. James S. Reeve and Henry L. Tinker of Appleton; John T. Durward of Baraboo; John J. Wood of Berlin; Leland S. Kemnitz of Detroit, Michigan; Amasa J. Edminster and R. C. Rodecker of Holcombe; Oscar G. Boisseau of Holden, Missouri; Walter M. Atwood, William H. Faust, Clarence B. Lester, Edwin C. Mason, Mary Oakley, Frederic A. Ogg, and Mrs. Jessie Russell Skinner of Madison; Clarence R. Falk and Arthur G. Santer of Milwaukee; Ruth Thompson of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mrs. L. T. Hill of Sparta; Katherine A. Rood of Stevens Point; John S. Roeseler of Superior; Arthur T. Leith of Washington, D. C.; E. P. Winkelman of Waterloo; and Philip B. Gordon of White Earth, Minnesota.

In the same period the Society has lost by death five of its members: David J. Ryan of Appleton; William N. Merriam of Duluth, Minnesota; Hon. John A. Aylward, Gen. Benjamin F. Cram, and Justice William H. Timlin of Madison. Probably the list should include names of other members, of whose deaths the administration of the Society has not yet been apprised.

By the will of Hon. George B. Burrows of Madison, who died in 1909, his entire estate was bequeathed, subject to certain contingencies, to the State Historical Society. Through the death in October, 1916, of the testator’s only son and heir the estate at length comes to the Society. At the time of Mr. Burrows’ death in 1909 its appraised value was fixed at $219,000. It is the belief of those best informed in the premises that its present value is considerably in excess of that sum. The property will be available for the Society’s use when the usual court procedure shall have been gone through with.

By the death of Miss Genevieve Mills of Madison at the close of 1916 another important bequest to the Society became public knowledge. Miss Mills made a will by the terms of which the Society is ultimately to receive her half-interest in the old Mills homestead at Pg 102 the corner of Monona Avenue and Wilson Street, Madison. The will states that the property is given “as a tribute to the loyalty of my mother Maria L. Mills and my father Simeon Mills toward the State and the State Historical Society they loved and helped to found.” The sum realized from the property is to constitute a perpetual fund, named in honor of the giver’s parents the “Maria L. and Simeon Mills Editorial Fund”; the proceeds of the fund thus established are to be devoted to the editing of materials for middle-western history, preferably that of Wisconsin itself. The present value of this wise gift is supposed to be in the neighborhood of $25,000. How soon it will become available to the Society is still uncertain.

The last few months have witnessed an unusually large number of changes in the staff of the Wisconsin Historical Library. In September, 1916, Mr. Frederick Merk, for five years research assistant on the Society’s staff, began an indefinite leave of absence, with a view to prosecuting his graduate studies at Harvard University, where he had received a teaching-fellowship appointment. In January Miss Lydia Brauer of the editorial staff was compelled by illness to relinquish her position. In February Miss Alice Whitney, assistant in the museum, withdrew to accept a much better position in the Emporia Normal School. The close of the fiscal year in June witnessed several resignations of long-time members of the staff. Miss Eleanore Lothrop, for several years the superintendent’s secretary, withdrew in order to accept a position in the East. Mr. Lyell Deaner of the newspaper division answered the call of his country by enlisting in the army. Others whose resignations went into effect in June were Miss Pauline Buell of the reference division, and Miss Ora Smith of the order department.

To fill these and other gaps in the ranks of the Library staff the following appointments have been made: In September, 1916, Miss Ruth Hayward, for several years cataloguer in the Cincinnati Public Library, became a member of our cataloguing staff. In February, Miss Genevieve Deming and Miss Ruth Roberts, recent graduates of the University of Wisconsin, began work as assistants in the order department and museum, respectively. Mr. Gaige Roberts of Madison filled the vacant position in the newspaper division. In July Miss Marguerite Jenison of Fond du Lac, a recent graduate of the state university, began work as assistant to the superintendent and calendarer of the Draper manuscripts. Mr. Theodore Blegen, teacher of history in the Riverside High School, Milwaukee, spent the summer months as research worker on the Society’s staff. Finally, Dr. John W. Oliver, of the Indiana State Library, began work in September on an appointment as research assistant.

Pg 103 The current year of the Society (October, 1916-October, 1917) has been one of unusual activity in the field of research and publication. In the nine months ending July 1, 1917 three substantial volumes and two bulletins were issued, in addition to certain minor items. The volumes were: Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio (Collections of the Society, Vol. XXIII), edited by Louise P. Kellogg; An Economic History of Wisconsin During the Civil War Decade (Studies of the Society, Vol. I), by Frederick Merk, and the Proceedings of the Society for 1916. Each of these volumes will receive fuller notice elsewhere. The two bulletins were a List of Portraits and Paintings in the Wisconsin Historical Museum and a checklist of Periodicals and Newspapers currently received by the library.

A new publication feature, begun in February, 1917, is a monthly Checklist of Wisconsin Public Documents. Each issue, appearing about the tenth of the month, lists the documents of the state issued during the preceding month. Of this publication the Mississippi Valley Historical Review for June, 1917 says: “This is a unique undertaking for a state historical agency. The value to historians, librarians, and state officials, of such a series of bulletins makes it a welcome bibliographical addition.” It may be added that, so far as the Society’s administration is aware, the undertaking is unique not simply for a “state historical agency,” but for any agency whatever. The Library of Congress attempts to do for the entire country what the Wisconsin Checklist does for our state alone. Useful as the Library of Congress list is, however, it cannot possibly cover the various states with the promptness and comprehensiveness which attaches to our own list for Wisconsin. The credit for the conception of this publication enterprise of the Society and for its execution belongs to Mrs. Anna W. Evans, chief of the public-documents division of the library.

Of research enterprises under way but not yet completed, or if completed not yet issued from the press, the following may be noted. A valuable account, as it is believed, of the public-documents division of the library, prepared by Mrs. Evans, has been long in the hands of the state printer. Material for a succeeding volume of the Draper Series (to be published as Vol. XXIV of the Society’s Collections, with the title Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 1779-1781) should, with reasonable promptness on the state printer’s part, be distributed to our members about the time they receive this magazine. Copy for Volume XXV of the Collections was given to the printer in the spring, and in the usual order of things it may be expected to be ready for distribution near the close of 1917. It consists of the letters of Edwin Bottomley, a pioneer Racine County Pg 104 farmer, written to his father in England in the years 1842-50. At the time of writing (July) the preparation for the printer of a second volume of the Draper Calendar Series, is approaching completion, and its publication may be expected to follow the usual interval of time required by the state printer. Dr. Edward Kremers of the University of Wisconsin has been engaged for many months in the editing of what will become the initial volume of the Society’s Hollister Pharmaceutical Series. More definite announcement concerning it may well be postponed for the present. It is believed, however, that the Society’s constituency may anticipate with pleasure the appearance of this initial volume of what will constitute a new and unique undertaking among American historical societies. Another, but minor, research enterprise under way is the preparation by Mr. Blegen of a comprehensive report on the Wisconsin archives situation—a subject, it may be noted, concerning which there is crying need of public enlightenment. To conclude this summary catalogue, in the Wisconsin Magazine of History the reader has before him the initial installment of the Society’s most recent publication enterprise.

A sum of money has been placed at the disposal of the National Board for Historical Service whereby it is enabled to announce a prize essay contest open to public school teachers in each of the several states of the Union on the subject “Why the United States is at War.” To teachers in the public high schools of Wisconsin five prizes ranging from $75 down to $10 are offered; for elementary public school teachers, three prizes ($75, $25, and $10) will be awarded. Essays must not exceed 3,000 words and must be in the hands of Waldo G. Leland, 1133 Woodward Building, Washington, D. C., not later than six o’clock P. M., November 15, 1917. The awards will be made by boards of Wisconsin judges appointed by the State Historical Society. The essays will not be signed and the committees of award will not be informed concerning the author’s names until after their decision shall have been rendered. In announcing the contest the National Board states that it is intended to lay stress, in making the awards, on intelligent use made of such materials as may be accessible to the competitor living in small communities with no large library at hand. It is to be hoped that a large number of Wisconsin teachers will enter this contest. Every participant in it will be a winner; this regardless of whether he gains one of the prizes awarded, since the intellectual and patriotic stimulus he will experience will in themselves more than repay the labor involved. For full particulars concerning the contest apply at your nearest normal school or college, or directly to the National Board for Historical Service, 1133 Woodward Bldg., Washington, D. C.

Pg 105 Dr. E. D. Pierce of Trempealeau, one of the Society’s curators, has been engaged the past year in editing a history of Trempealeau County, to be published shortly by the Cooper Company of Chicago and Winona. In this connection, the editor has been given the use of a short history of Wisconsin to 1848, prepared by Miss Kellogg for publication by the State Historical Society. Probably this narrative will appear shortly in this magazine. It was prepared with a view to placing it freely at the disposal of county historians and any others who may find it useful; this in the belief that since the subscription county history is often the only book of a historical character which comes into the homes of our citizens, the Society is acting in line with its ideal of serving the public as fully as possible by doing what it may to improve the quality of these volumes.

Another Wisconsin local history approaching completion at the hands of a curator of the Society is the history of Door County by Mr. Hjalmar R. Holand of Ephraim. It is understood that this is to be published by the Lewis Company of Chicago.

The eleventh annual meeting of the Waukesha County Historical Society was held at the Congregational Church in Waukesha on May 5, 1917. Aside from business reports and luncheon and other social features, the principal part of the program was devoted to two addresses: one by Judge C. E. Armin on “The Early Bar of Waukesha County”; the other by M. M. Quaife on Increase Allen Lapham. The Society voted at this meeting to send its secretary, Miss Julia A. Lapham of Oconomowoc, as a delegate to the annual meeting of the State Historical Society in October. This is an act which it is hoped will be widely imitated by the other local societies of the state, since mutual encouragement and profit will undoubtedly result from a greater participation by them in the affairs of the parent organization.

On June 16, 1917 under the auspices of the Waukesha County Historical Society, a bronze tablet in memory of Increase A. Lapham was unveiled on Lapham Peak. Lapham Peak, until recently known as Government Hill, is the highest point in Waukesha County. From an observation tower which formerly stood within a few feet of the tablet it is said that one could see, on a clear day, Lake Michigan on the east and as far as Madison on the west. No more appropriate spot for a memorial to Wisconsin’s first great naturalist could have been chosen than this, with its far-sweeping view of the beautiful lakes and valleys and hills of southern Wisconsin. The tablet was unveiled by Julia A. Lapham, daughter of Dr. Lapham. Present also were two sons and a granddaughter of the scholar in whose honor the assemblage had convened. Addresses were given by M. M. Pg 106 Quaife of the State Historical Society and John G. Gregory, editor of the Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin. The tablet, affixed to a large gray boulder, bears this inscription:

Lapham Peak
Elevation 1233 Feet
Named by the U. S. Geographic Board
In Honor of

Increase A. Lapham
Eminent Scientist and Useful Citizen

Tribute of
The Waukesha County Historical

Mr. W. W. Bartlett of Eau Claire, an enthusiastic cultivator of the local historical field, has been running for many months a series of lumbering articles and reminiscences dealing particularly with the Chippewa Valley. He has recently given a lecture, illustrated with lantern slides, on the subject of logging in the Chippewa to an audience of Norwegian-Americans, most of whom were familiar with the industry before coming to America. Mr. Bartlett is chairman of the history section of the Eau Claire County Defense Council.

The Agricultural College of the University of Wisconsin has prepared a moving-picture film depicting the historical stages in the invention of the Babcock test. Fortunately it was possible to have as principal actors in the scenario the two men who played the principal rôles in the original discovery, Professor Babcock and Professor Henry.

The Wisconsin Archeological Society, which holds monthly meetings during the year in the Milwaukee Library-Museum, has been giving during the past year a series of lectures on American anthropology and archeology, the subjects ranging from descriptions of the Eskimo to the antiquities of Brazil. For the coming year President Barrett proposes a series of lectures which will constitute a course of study in American anthropology, with its relations to geology, zoölogy, ethnobotany, folk lore, and the fur trade.

The Milwaukee Museum is planning to install a replica of Solomon Juneau’s fur-trade post, in anticipation of next year’s centenary of Juneau’s first appearance on the site of Milwaukee.

On February 22 the Milwaukee Old Settlers’ Club, organized in 1869, held its annual banquet at the Pfister Hotel. During the year Pg 107 thirty-two of its members had been claimed by death. On May 17 many members of the club joined in celebrating the ninetieth birthday of Frederick Layton, the Milwaukee philanthropist.

The old settlers of Pierce and St. Croix counties held a “homecoming” at Ellsworth on June 20. The qualification for membership in the organization is forty years’ residence in the St. Croix Valley.

On January 17 the old settlers of De Pere met at the Presbyterian Church. Speeches relating to the early history of the Fox River Valley were delivered.

In connection with the summer session of the University of Wisconsin an archeological and local historical excursion was given July 7. This is the fourth time that Curator Charles E. Brown, assisted by local historians, has coöperated with the university in arranging such a field day. The number of excursionists is limited to one hundred, and admission to the privilege is eagerly sought by students from distant parts of the United States, who desire to learn of the first things in Madison’s environment.

Pageantry is proving one of the most attractive means of popularizing and visualizing history. At Milton College’s semi-centennial its history was vivified by a pageant written by the faculty and produced by the literary societies. West Allis, under the joint auspices of the schools and the library, enjoyed a pageant in the early summer, written by W. E. Jillson, city librarian.

At Monroe on June 7 the commencement exercises of the high school took the form of a historical pageant. The Mitchell Park Sane Fourth Committee provided a pageant for Milwaukee southsiders on our national holiday. A number of other pageants that had been planned have been postponed because of war conditions.

St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church at Prairie du Chien celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary June 10-12. Bishop Schweback was the guest of honor. To this church undoubtedly belongs the honor of being the oldest parish in the state, since the records preserved show that baptisms and marriages were performed, and a cemetery consecrated in the spring of 1817 by Father Joseph Dunand, a Trappist monk from the Illinois monastery opposite St. Louis.

The eightieth birthday of the Milwaukee Sentinel was celebrated June 27. This famous paper, whose editors have enjoyed national reputations, was first issued in the second year of Wisconsin’s territorial career, having been founded by Solomon Juneau to herald the fame of the east-side town whose interests he was promoting. The present publishers issued a memorial edition of the paper on June 24, giving a historical résumé of the Sentinel’s past.

Nashotah House, the mother seminary of the Episcopal Church in the Northwest, celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary at the Pg 108 commencement in May. The historical address was delivered by Rev. T. M. McLean of Duluth. This seminary was the outgrowth of the efforts of Bishop Jackson Kemper, whose extensive private papers, fully illustrating his missionary career, are included in the State Historical Society’s manuscript collections.

The seventy-first anniversary of the inauguration of Solomon Juneau as first mayor of Milwaukee was noticed by the city press, which published an illustration of the First Spring Street Methodist Episcopal Church, within whose walls the ceremony occurred.

The fiftieth anniversary of Milton College was celebrated June 16-20. Six college presidents of the state and the dean of the University of Wisconsin participated in the exercises.

The Dania Society of Racine, one of the largest Danish-American organizations in the United States, commemorated its fiftieth anniversary on May 19.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer of February 25 printed an interview with Edwin U. Judd, now living in his ninety-first year at Anacortes, Washington. Mr. Judd was a resident of Waupun during the fifties of the last century and was the chairman of the Free Soil party for his district when the Republican party was born in 1854 at Ripon. He is probably the last survivor of those who signed the call for a mass convention at Madison in July of that year. His recollections of Alvin A. Bovay and the motives for the caucus at Ripon, February 12, 1854, are interesting material for the historian of political parties.

Mrs. Louisa Sawin Brayton, first school teacher of Madison, died at her home in that city May 30, aged one hundred and one years. Mrs. Brayton came to Madison in 1838. She was a prophet not without honor in her home city; for many years her neighbors had delighted to celebrate her birthday and the Brayton public school is named for her.

Prof. Frederick J. Turner, in recent years of Harvard University, but Wisconsin born and bred, is a member of the National Board for Historical Service, recently organized at Washington to mobilize the historical scholarship of the country to serve it in its time of need. Prof. Carl R. Fish of the history department of the University of Wisconsin is also a member of this board.

Mrs. Lois Kimball Mathews, associate professor of history and dean of women at the University of Wisconsin, was elected in April president of the Association of Collegiate Alumnæ, the largest organization of college women in the United States.

Louis Sky, or Ossawah, of the Chippewa Bad River Reservation, was recently granted a pension for his services during the Civil War. Pg 109 This recalls the fact that numbers of Chippewa, Menominee, and Winnebago braves went from our state to serve their country in 1861-65. Their descendants are now offering themselves in considerable numbers to fight for Uncle Sam on the plains of France.

Through the generosity of Mrs. John H. Davidson, the Oshkosh chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has erected tablets on the Indian mounds at Oakwood, on the southern shore of Lake Butte des Morts.

Milwaukee’s Eintracht Gesellschaft was founded June 19, 1867. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary a banquet was given on June 19 of the present year.

On May 20, St. John’s Lutheran Church at Boscobel held a commemorative service in honor of its founding fifty years ago.

Rev. T. S. Johnson of the Presbyterian Church of Beaver Dam had the rare distinction of celebrating this spring a pastorate of fifty years’ duration.

A large number of interesting and valuable objects were given to the Historical Society for the museum during the first half of 1917. A few of the more important are noted below:

The four survivors of the volunteer fire company known as the Madison Engine Company No. 2, organized in 1856, have donated to the Society all their equipment and records, including a silk flag, silver trumpets, brass lanterns, helmets, and belts. The patriotic work of the pioneer volunteer fire-fighters constitutes an interesting chapter in the history of the state.

With the coöperation of various individuals and governmental agencies hundreds of war posters and other material pertaining to the great struggle on which the nation is embarked are coming to the museum. A number of special exhibits of this material were held during the summer in the museum halls. It is expected that in a future issue of this magazine will be presented an article by Mr. Brown on the collecting and the character of this contemporary historical material.

From Mr. Thomas Wilson of Black Earth, Civil War soldier in the Twelfth Wisconsin Regiment, a collection of sixty or more tintypes of members of his company taken at Memphis, has been received. Mr. Wilson also gave to the Society an army overcoat worn by himself and an officer’s sword and sash worn by his brother, Captain Francis Wilson.

Two Spanish War mementos have been deposited in the museum by Miss A. C. Anderson of Madison. One is a Spanish flag taken from the custom house at Santiago by members of Company A, Second U. S. Cavalry, when the city was captured in 1898. The other is a Moro flag captured in the Philippines by the same company.

Pg 110 The class of 1897, University of Wisconsin, has given a three-inch shrapnel shell, properly cross-sectioned, of the type now in use by the Allies in the European War.

By the will of the late W. W. Warner of Madison the Society has received a collection of Indian stone and other implements, and an elaborate Swiss music box. The latter is reputed to be the finest instrument of its kind in the Northwest.

During the current year especial efforts have been devoted to developing the Society’s collection of newspapers. As a result the list of papers currently received at the library covers in a general way every section of the United States and more intensively the middle-western section more immediately tributary to the library. If this policy can be adhered to permanently, future generations of students who come to consult the library will find a much more comprehensive and logically ordered collection of newspapers than do those of the present time.

Along with this reaching out for current issues, the library continues, slowly but persistently, to add to its files of old newspapers. The more important non-current newspaper accessions in the nine months ending July 1, 1917, are as follows:

Boston News Letter (photostat copies), 1719-25.
Cherokee (Kans.) Sentinel of Liberty, 1879-80.
Fishkill (N. Y.) Journal, 1865-89.
Freeport (Ill.) Monitor, 1874-75.
Freeport (Ill.) Bulletin, 1868-69.
Freeport (Ill.) Journal, 1856-57, 1859-60, 1866-80, 1882-1913.
La Crosse Tribune, 1904-06, 1908.
Lexington (Ky.) Western Luminary, 1826-29.
London (Eng.) Examiner, 1808-29.
Milwaukee Freidenker, 1914-16.
New York Citizen, 1854-55.
New York Herald, 1849.
New York Man, 1834-35.
New York Nautical Gazette, 1874-75.
New York Sentinel, 1830-32.
New York Times, 1898.
New York Workingman’s Advocate, 1834-35.
Oconomowoc Free Press, 1858-60.
Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 1791-93.
Portsmouth (N. H.) Journal, 1824, 1828, 1830, 1835-55, 1864.
Richmond (Va.) State Journal, 1871.
Racine Advocate (incomplete), 1842-48.
Rising Sun (Ind.) Indiana Blade, 1843-48.
Pg 111 Seneca Falls (N. Y.) Millenial Harbinger and Bible Expositor, 1860-62.
Shanghai North China Herald, 1910, 1912-14.
Skaneateles (N. Y.) Democrat, 1844-49.
St. Paul (Minn.) Northwestern Chronicle, 1866-72.

The annual meeting of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association was held at Chicago, April 26-28, 1917. Prof. R. B. Way of Beloit was chairman of the program committee, while Prof. Frederic Logan Paxson of the University of Wisconsin, as president of the association, delivered the annual address. His subject was “The Rise of Sports, 1876-93.” Other Wisconsin men who delivered addresses during the sessions of the association were Prof. James A. James, now of Northwestern University, Theodore C. Blegen of Milwaukee, and Prof. Sherwood of La Crosse. M. M. Quaife of Madison was elected to the board of editors of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review for a three-year term, while all the newly-elected members of the executive committee of the association were educated at Wisconsin. These were Prof. O. G. Libby of the University of North Dakota, Homer C. Hockett of Ohio State University, and Albert H. Sanford of La Crosse.

The important Bancroft Manuscript Collection at Berkeley, California has been placed in charge of Prof. Herbert E. Bolton. Mr. Bolton is a native of Wisconsin and was graduated at the university in 1895.

The annual address before the State Historical Society at the coming October meeting will be given by Prof. Frederic Logan Paxson of the University of Wisconsin. Plans are being made for a more active participation on the part of local societies in the program of the annual meeting than has been the case in the past. With a reasonable degree of interest on the part of the members of the state and local societies it is believed that a better and more profitable annual meeting can be held than any in recent years.


Volume XXII of the Society’s Collections, The Journals of Captain Meriwether Lewis and John Ordway, distributed in the summer of 1916, has attracted much attention at the hands of historical editors and others. Of it the Iowa Journal of History and Politics says: “It is perhaps not too much to say that, no publication of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin possesses a wider interest than this book.” The review in the Washington Historical Quarterly concludes: “Those who have collected the works of Lewis and Clark should certainly secure this book. It makes a rich supplement Pg 112 to any of the other editions.” In similar fashion the review of the book published in the American Historical Review closes with the statement, “The Historical Society of Wisconsin is to be congratulated on the publication of this volume.”

Volume XXIII of the Society’s Collections (Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-79) and Mr. Merk’s Economic History of Wisconsin During the Civil War Decade have been distributed too recently to have attracted much attention at the hands of the reviewers at the time of our going to press. On the part of the newspapers of Wisconsin, however, Mr. Merk’s volume has already evoked much notice and comment. The Milwaukee Sentinel and other papers of the state have republished numerous extracts from the book, while the Chippewa Falls Independent devoted special attention to the chapters on the history of the lumbering industry in Wisconsin. The expected comment of our historical neighbors on these two volumes will be noted in a future number of the Magazine.

The annual volume of Proceedings of the Society for the year 1916 came from the press and was distributed to our members and exchanges in July. The volume is longer than any of its predecessors, and the workmanship of the printer is probably the best of any in the long series of annual volumes put out by the Society. Aside from the business report and other routine proceedings, the book contains eight historical papers. The most interesting and valuable of these is Captain Arthur L. Conger’s study of “President Lincoln as War Statesman,” delivered as the annual address before the Society in 1916. Unless we mistake greatly, this paper will quickly gain recognition as one of the most trenchant studies yet made of Lincoln’s career. Four studies of a biographical character are the reminiscences of Father Chrysostom Verwyst of Bayfield and of Mary Elizabeth Mears, early Wisconsin authoress; “New Light on the Career of Nathaniel Pryor,” sergeant on the exploring expedition of Lewis and Clark; and an account of the military career of Major Earl, noted Wisconsin Civil War scout. A study of “The Beginnings of the Norwegian Press in America” reveals the fact, interesting to citizens of Wisconsin, that this state, rather than its western neighbor, was originally and for long the chief seat of Norwegian development in America. Hence the story of the beginnings of the Norwegian press in the United States is almost wholly a Wisconsin story. Another local study is that of the long-drawn-out “Watertown Railway Bond Fight,” one of the notable legal contests in American history. Finally, and of more general import, is “The Dream of a Northwestern Confederacy,” which recites the story of the rise and decline of the hopes of the Southern people to Pg 113 draw off the Northwest from the remainder of the Union and in so doing to win the struggle for its disruption.

By the will of Joseph Pulitzer, the noted New York journalist, provision is made for the establishment of an annual prize of $2,000 by the authorities of Columbia University for the best book of the year in American history. It is interesting to note that the first award, announced at the 1917 commencement of Columbia, was made, not to a professional historian but to a busy man of affairs, the French ambassador to the United States, Monsieur J. J. Jusserand, for his volume With Americans of Past and Present Days. The book includes four important and charming historical studies. The longest, “Rochambeau and the French in America,” presents a narrative, based largely on hitherto unused sources, of this able but neglected soldier in the war for our national independence. The other studies deal with “Washington and the French,” “Major L’Enfant in the Federal City,” and “Abraham Lincoln.” The latter paper is particularly interesting as showing the contemporary French estimate of President Lincoln and the popular sentiment in France in favor of the Union. Thoroughly scholarly and charmingly written, the volume is commended as an agreeable companion for a leisure evening.

A second annual prize established by Mr. Pulitzer is one of $1,000 awarded for the best American biography teaching patriotism and service. It was first awarded to Mrs. Laura E. Richards and Mrs. Maud Howe Elliott for their biography of their mother, Julia Ward Howe. The noble career of this talented woman should ever serve as an inspiration to her countrymen. Especially at this time of stress are we grateful for her immortal “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Like M. Jusserand’s book, the work is unreservedly commended to our readers.

One of the most important and scholarly studies in the field of western history to appear in many years is Clarence W. Alvord’s The Mississippi Valley in British Politics: A Study of the Trade Speculation, and Experiments in Imperialism Culminating in the American Revolution. The book is beautifully printed in two volumes by Arthur H. Clark of Cleveland. It is Professor Alvord’s contention that the seeker after the causes leading to the American Revolution will find them chiefly in connection with the policies and efforts of the British ministers to organize the imperial American domain which came to it from France in the Seven Years’ War, rather than in the incidents and events along the Atlantic seaboard to which historians have paid chief attention hitherto.

Pg 114 Of particular interest to Wisconsin readers is the volume, Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1634-1699, edited by Louise P. Kellogg of the Society’s staff for the Original Narratives of American History series. In this volume have been gathered, with appropriate editing, the principal classics of northwestern exploration in the seventeenth century. Included are the narratives of (or concerning) Nicolet, Radisson, Perrot, Allouez, Dollier and Galinée, Jolliet and Marquette, La Salle, Duluth, and St. Cosme. Thus at length we have assembled in convenient form the more important sources for the earliest history of this region, so that anyone who will, may easily avail himself of them. With this volume the important series of Original Narratives of Early American History, sponsored by the American Historical Association and under the general editorship of Dr. J. Franklin Jameson of Washington, concludes. It is interesting to note that the series was begun and finished by Madison scholars, Prof. Julius Olson having edited (jointly with Professor Bourne) the first volume and Miss Kellogg the final one.

Mr. Lucius C. Colman of La Crosse has had reprinted by photomechanical process from the copy in the Wisconsin Historical Library the rare Brief Sketch of La Crosse Wisc’n published in 1854 by Rev. Spencer Carr. The work, a pamphlet of twenty-eight pages, may be regarded as a city history, directory, census, and promoting tract all in one. From it we learn that in January, 1854, La Crosse had a total population of 745. Indicative of the character of the place at this time is the further information that, among this population were 78 “single Gentlemen” and but 38 “single Ladies.” In view of the fact that less than three years earlier there were but five families in La Crosse, the author’s generally optimistic view of the town’s advantages and future prospects seems fairly justified. A further indication of the roseate future which the townsmen saw in prospect is afforded by the enumeration among the 745 persons in the community of 9 physicians and 12 lawyers.

Of Ulysses S. Grant, conqueror of the Confederacy, many biographies have been written. The recently published biography by Louis A. Coolidge is one of the best in the series, although it still remains to write an entirely satisfactory account of Grant’s career. Mr. Coolidge’s biography devotes a relatively large amount of space to Grant’s later civilian career (over three-fifths of the volume). The author believes and seeks to show that Grant was a greater statesman and more successful president than he is commonly believed to have been.

The Historical Department of Iowa has issued Downing’s Civil War Diary, edited by Prof. O. B. Clark of Des Moines. Pg 115 Alexander G. Downing was a sergeant in the Eleventh Iowa Infantry. He served from 1861 to 1865, a period during which he succeeded in participating in nearly forty battles and skirmishes. Like the Artilleryman’s Diary of Jenkin Lloyd Jones, published by the Wisconsin History Commission three years ago, Downing’s diary gives a valuable first-hand picture of the war as seen from the standpoint of the soldier in the ranks. Unlike the Artilleryman’s Diary, however, Downing’s diary, as printed, does not reproduce the original record. Instead, it is a composite made up by the editor from the original diary plus a revised version written out by Mr. Downing in old age, together with such alterations as the editor deemed desirable. The editor’s work seems to have been done skillfully on the whole, and author, editor, and historical department are to be congratulated on the publication of the book. As with the Artilleryman’s Diary, not much of commendation can be accorded the physical makeup of the book. So worthy a record was deserving of a better dress.

For several years the Lakeside Press of Chicago has published an annual Christmas volume of a historical character for complimentary distribution to patrons and friends. The volume published in 1916 was a reprint of the autobiography of Black Hawk, the famous Sauk chief, and was edited by M. M. Quaife of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. So great was the demand for the book that although 3,500 copies were printed the edition was exhausted within a brief period. For the year 1917 the Indian-captivity narrative of Rev. O. M. Spencer is being edited by Mr. Quaife. The work was originally written for the Western Christian Advocate of Cincinnati, from whose files the numerous reprint editions in volume form of seventy years ago were taken. For the new edition under preparation, recourse has been had to the rare file of the Advocate preserved in the newspaper division of the Wisconsin Historical Library.

An elaborate report of Perry’s Victory Centennial has been issued by the Perry’s Victory Centennial Commission, State of New York. As usual with politico-historical publications of this character, the physiognomies of the several members of the commission are adequately presented to public gaze in a series of full-page half-tones. The numerous historical addresses delivered in connection with the celebration constitute the more interesting portion of the contents of the volume. Included is the address of Hon. John M. Whitehead of our Society at the laying of the cornerstone of the Perry Memorial at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, July 4, 1913.

Pg 116 One of the most laborious, and at the same time useful, pieces of historical workmanship of recent years is being prosecuted towards its conclusion by Mr. Clarence Brigham, secretary of the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, Massachusetts. This is the compilation of a calendar of all American newspapers published down to (and including) the year 1820. Newspapers are as the breath of life to the serious student of American history, but with no comprehensive guide to enlighten him as to what papers were published and where files of these have been preserved, the individual student has been sadly handicapped heretofore in his efforts to avail himself of this source of historical information. Aside from its value to students of American history generally, there are at least two reasons why the progress of Mr. Brigham’s enterprise should afford peculiar interest to members of this Society; first, because our Society was a pioneer in the field of publishing newspaper catalogues, the last edition of our Annotated Catalogue got out by Doctor Thwaites a few years ago still standing as one of the two chief American publications of this character in print; and second, because of the creditable showing made by our Society’s collection of early American newspapers in Mr. Brigham’s calendar; this notwithstanding the fact that the major strength of our newspaper collection lies in a period more recent than that covered by Mr. Brigham.

Publication of The Louisiana Historical Quarterly was begun by the Louisiana Historical Society in January, 1917. The initial number contains 119 pages of material, bearing chiefly upon the history of the state. The Georgia Historical Society issued in March the first number of the Georgia Historical Quarterly. These two new publications afford gratifying evidence of renewed vigor on the part of their sponsors, each of which is upwards of eighty years of age.

To the October, 1916, number of the Missouri Historical Review Duane Mowry of Milwaukee contributes an interesting collection of letters of Carl Schurz, B. Gratz Brown, and other prominent Missourians, contained in the collection of papers of Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin, now in Mr. Mowry’s custody. The January, 1917, number of the Review contains a further instalment of Senator Doolittle’s correspondence with leading citizens of Missouri.

The June number of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review contains as a leading article a valuable account of the Doukhobors in Canada. Other articles worthy of note are Professor Robertson’s “Sectionalism in Kentucky from 1855 to 1865,” and the annual survey of historical activities in the Old Northwest for the preceding year. Our Wisconsin readers will be gratified by the opening sentence Pg 117 of the survey: “The State Historical Society of Wisconsin continues to maintain its leading position among historical agencies of this region.” To those of our readers who are as yet unacquainted with the Review we are glad to commend it as the livest and best historical periodical in America, saving only the American Historical Review. Because it belongs to our own section of the country its contents are probably of greater interest and value to most middle-western readers than are those even of the American Historical Review. Membership in the association is open to all; members receive the quarterly Review together with the annual volume of Proceedings of the association.

The leading articles in the July number of the American Historical Review possess an unusual degree of timeliness. Prof. S. B. Fay writes on “The Beginnings of the Standing Army in Prussia.” Two Civil War articles are “The Northern Railroads, April, 1861,” and “The Confederate Government and the Railroads.” The former of these is by Prof. Carl R. Fish of the University of Wisconsin. Finally, James A. Robertson, who went from Wisconsin to the librarianship of the Manila Public Library, gives an account of “The Philippines since the Inauguration of the Philippine Assembly.” Included in the book reviews are full-page notices of the two recently issued volumes of this Society’s Collections, No. XXII and No. XXIII.

Of military history and principles most Americans are woefully ignorant. Those who would improve their knowledge of these things can hardly do better than to become readers of The Military Historian and Economist edited jointly by Capt. Arthur L. Conger, U. S. A., and Prof. R. M. Johnston of Harvard. Timely and stimulating articles in the July number of the magazine are Émile Laloy’s discussion of “French Military Theory” and an anonymous contributor’s “Estimate of the Situation.” The writer believes that the most effective military course for the United States to take is to keep at home the larger part of the army now in process of creation, and by so doing enable our navy to be sent into the Pacific to establish there a secure Anglo-American predominance. The considerations which lead to these conclusions cannot, of course, be set forth in this brief note.



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VOL. I, NO. 2 DECEMBER, 1917


Illustration: Printer's Logo


Edited by



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The Frontier a World Problem Carl Russell Fish 121
Early Recollections of Lake Geneva (Big Foot Lake), Wisconsin George Manierre 142
Description of a Journey to North America
Foreword Rasmus B. Anderson 149
Description of a Journey to North America Ole Knudsen Nattestad 167
History Repeats Itself; Our Military Record; What of the Future?; An Appreciation and a Suggestion; Cannon Fodder 187
Question Box:
Daniel Webster’s Wisconsin Investments; Names Proposed for a New Town; Origin of the Word “Winnequah”; The Discovery of Lake Superior; The Potawatomi during the Revolution; Father Allouez among the Kickapoo; The Indian Tribes of Iowa 193
Old Copperheads and New; A Presbyterian Objects 202
Survey of Historical Activities:
The Society and the State; Some Wisconsin Public Documents; Some Publications 206

Copyright, 1917, by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Pg 121


By Carl Russell Fish

Only by a study of local history can we hope really to understand the development of human society. The historian like the scientist must base his knowledge on what can be seen through a microscope. Wisconsin, from the time of its formation as a state, has realized this, and has steadily confirmed itself in the opinion. This institution, which it founded in the days of its youth and scant resources, it has supported with a liberality, public and private, growing as its wealth has grown. Of late years, a corps of local societies, city and county, have been forming about the central institution. The University has directed its students to the study of the localities from which they have come, and stores in its stacks the facts which they glean. No one of the newer states of the country knows itself so well as Wisconsin, and if, as is so often the case, acquired knowledge seems merely to reveal the knowledge still necessary for real understanding, we have carefully developed plans to extend it still more widely and intensively.

Yet how insignificant any locality seems today, when practically all are plunged into the same calamity, when the resources of all are concentrated in one struggle. Races and breeds, nationalities and castes are merged together on the same battle-field. Their similarities of plight and object dominate their differences, the protective barriers each erected to preserve that distinctiveness so dear to human nature seem leveled, and history has become world history. Men thrown thus physically into the maelstrom find themselves intellectually also torn from their safe anchorages and adrift they know not where. What does the individual count for, what Pg 122 the locality, what the past? What counts it to study the development of Rock County cheese-making, when its cheeses and cheese makers are tumbled promiscuously with those of all counties and nations, simply as units in a staggering sum total?

The world has changed, but that is not startling. The world is always changing. This change is greater, and for us in America more sudden and dramatic, than any which preceded, but everything has not changed. The relation of the past to the present and the future is permanent. The relations of the individual, the locality, and the whole, shift, but they are the permanent factors of which life consists. The world war has not changed these factors, but it should bring us up sharply to a realization of what they really mean. Socrates’ dictum “know thyself” was not given in any selfish spirit. He did not mean that we were to devote ourselves to ourselves, but that we could know ourselves more thoroughly than we could know others, that self-knowledge was the completest knowledge, and therefore the Archimedian lever to open up knowledge of others. Self-examination has often become an obsession excluding all else, the study of local history has often become antiquarianism. The real reason for the cultivating of both is the formation of known bases from which to calculate. The German historian, Lamprecht, became so familiar with the little city of Trêves that he could have conversed intimately with its inhabitants of any year during the Middle Ages if he might have been dropped into it, but this devotion was not for the sake of Trêves, it gave the understanding knowledge necessary for his great work on German civilization as a whole. We can know no generation unless we have delved deep into the souls of its greatest men, but such biographical studies are not for themselves alone, but to contribute to a sympathetic comprehension of their contemporaries.

Pg 123 Local history to justify itself must be as exact and absolute as studies dealing with human nature may be, but if no effort is made to utilize it for an understanding of national and world history, it has missed its mission. Local history is not an end in itself. Moreover, if it is written without a wide knowledge of outside conditions, conditions in other localities, and other times, it will be but a warped product, as useless to the community for which it is written as for the outside world. Such selfishness and egoism have never been profitable. The only difference today is that for the moment at least they have become impossible.

The most striking feature in the history of Wisconsin has been the transformation within a lifetime of a virgin forest into a civilized area, the drawing together of the sons and daughters of many widely differing localities and their welding into a commonwealth. This conquest of the frontier has been but a portion of that vast movement which in a period historically short has created the United States, and more particularly it has been an important and typical battle in the campaign for the Mississippi Valley, which has resulted in our sister states of the Middle West.

Different as has been the history of each, the history of the frontier movement is a whole; the study of any state contributes to an understanding of all. As the occupation of Wisconsin has been but a part of the American frontier movement, so that has not been unique, even in the nineteenth century. We have liked to think of ourselves as carrying on a special and distinct task; to its difficulties and inspiration we have attributed many of our virtues, and on them we have laid the burden of our defects. The task, however, has not been unique. The results have, indeed, had their distinctive differences, but these have come rather from the way the task has been performed than because we have had a different thing to do. We know our own frontier with scientific thoroughness, but we cannot understand it unless we contrast Pg 124 it with such other frontiers as Australia, Siberia, South America, and Africa.

One of the essential features of a frontier is that both labor and capital come from without, and much of the capital is contributed by people who do not come to the frontier. Exception must, indeed, be made to this statement. The Spaniards found labor in Peru and Mexico, and they found also capital, as did the miners of Australia and California, the lumber barons of Wisconsin, and the fur traders of Canada. In none of these instances, however, did either the local labor or local capital suffice, and in all the instances to be cited later the bulk of the labor came from away, and the owners of an important portion of the capital remained away; the frontier community, therefore, was a debtor community, and the debt was due to an outside community.

This common condition has in all cases had an important bearing not only on economic development, but on the whole texture of the social fabric which was created; it affected not only the frontier itself, but its reflex influence on the sections from which the labor and capital were drawn set at work influences which at times became leading factors in their existence. So important have their influences been, that where the study is confined to any one frontier, they seem to dominate development, and make history their creature. When we extend our study, however, we find that in spite of the fundamental resemblance, each has followed its separate course; that the different balance of other factors, and even such secondary considerations as laws and constitutions, have radically altered the actual operation of these powerful natural resemblances. The control of the frontier’s natural resources, the distribution of proceeds, the very content of politics have varied with every frontier. The problem has been one, the methods and results have been as varied as the fields in which it occurred.

Pg 125 In the United States the larger part of the capital came from or through another section of the same country. That is, the East furnished nearly all that was supplied, although to do so it had to borrow somewhat from Europe. The direct loans from Europe to the West were comparatively unimportant. Consequently the interests of the debtor and creditor sections conflicted in the arena of national politics. Two unique features made the working out of the problem different in this country from any other. The first was the division of the country into a large number of states, sovereign within a restricted range of powers, some controlled by the debtor element, some by the creditor. The other was that at one time, and that the most critical, the frontier was strong enough at least to veto the action of the national government.

The result of these conditions was a struggle unusually complex. The control of banking, of the currency, of natural resources, such as lands, minerals, and oil, and of transportation or, as it is phrased in our politics, internal improvements, were the bone of contention. The desire to have these controlled by national or state governments varied with the political situation. The frontier wished banks that would not be too particular, a currency that would be easy to get; it wished, and wishes, control of its own systems of transportation and its natural resources.

The sections furnishing the supplies were more interested in the capital to which strings were tied, than in the labor which cut its apron strings on leaving home. The struggle antedated the Revolution; the high points in its later history were the Shays Rebellion, the Jackson régime, the greenback movement, the Bryan campaign, and it finds present expression in the opposition in the Far West to the national conservation policy.

When the frontier secured the reins of power in the sinewy hands of Andrew Jackson, it was not in a position to impose its policy upon the nation, but it was powerful enough to wrest Pg 126 banking, the currency, and internal improvements from the control of the national government, and turn them over to the states. The frontier states, elate, started on a mad career of making their own internal improvements, by means of borrowed capital diluted by paper issues, till money ran like fairy gold into the pockets of the needy. For one golden moment the problem of the frontier seemed solved to the satisfaction of the frontier. Jackson himself caused the first crash. Unable to tell good paper from bad, he could at any rate tell paper from gold, and in the Specie Circular of 1836 he brought credit to the touchstone of real value and sent the house of cards toppling. Feverishly rebuilt within the next few years, it fell again in 1841, carrying with it the whole dream of its builders. So severe was the blow that numbers of the states took advantage of their sovereign rights, and repudiated a portion of their debts. Securely entrenched behind their sovereign inviolability to legal attack, they still enjoyed the inviolability to force which their position as part of a larger nation afforded. They snapped their fingers at their creditors; but they could borrow no more. The nation had left the task of national development to the states; the states, by impairing their credit, had rendered themselves incapable of handling it.

This situation left the field free for, in fact rendered necessary, the intervention of individuals or of individuals organized as corporations. The legal position of the latter had already been prepared. The decisions of Justice Marshall had given corporation charters an unusual degree of legal sanctity, which the state constitutions modified rather than reversed. The fears of the Jeffersonian democracy had incorporated into the national constitution itself special restrictions upon the government in dealing with the individual, which the decisions of the Supreme Court under Justice Taney went far in applying to the corporations. Corporations became so firmly entrenched in their position Pg 127 as the chief agency in national development, that even when, after the Civil War, the national government became more active and once more assumed control of banking and the currency, and the credit of the states was reëstablished, both agencies used their powers chiefly to assist corporations. When, in the present generation, the necessity of public control became obvious, it took the form, for the most part, of regulation of corporations, rather than that of absorbing or supplanting them.

The direction of the development of transportation and the exploitation of natural resources, therefore, was, for the most part, in the hands of individuals, and, in the case of large projects, of individuals organized as corporations, and, with the exception of farm land, of individuals and corporations representing nonresident capital. Many influences, of course, modified their activities, but these affected rather the security of their capital than the initiative of their plans. Many lost the capital which they poured into the new region, and the result was that the prospect of large returns was demanded by others before venturing; speculation, lost investments, and abnormally productive investments characterized the process as a whole. Politicians concerned themselves rather with the means, the questions of banking and currency, than with the end, the character of the development which should take place.

The other independent portions of the American continents, for the most part, resembled the United States in organization, but the distribution of the economic factors differed and produced different results. Except in the United States, the capital which has been necessary for the occupation of the wilderness has come, for the most part, not from other portions of the same country, but from foreign countries.

The most important of these frontiers during the nineteenth century has been that of Argentina. Here the established section was until recently comparatively unimportant, Pg 128 both labor and capital came in large measure from abroad; the greater portion of the labor from Italy, of the capital from Great Britain. The conflict between the debtor and creditor sections, therefore, was not one of politics, but of diplomacy. Argentina might have what system of banking and currency it wished, but most creditors had to be paid in an international standard of value. In a world state, doubtless, all the frontiers would unite to further their interests, as the frontier states have in the United States; in the world as at present unorganized the ultimate appeal is to force. A debtor country, and one relatively weak as compared with its creditor, Argentina has not been without its plans, conceived like those of the American frontiersman without moral dishonesty but with incapacity or unwillingness to think the thing through, for easing its burden. In the efforts of Calvo and Drago to incorporate into international law the principle that debts between nations and their citizens may not be collected by force, we see as surely the reflection of frontier views, as in the programs of Greenbacker and of Populist. In the greater interest in international affairs in Argentina than in the United States, we see a new illustration of the aphorism “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

In the long run, Argentina has had to pay up, and has had to pay also in high interest rates, for the lack of a feeling of absolute security on the part of the investor. Probably few countries have had more expensive statesmen than Drago and Calvo.

To attract capital, moreover, it has been necessary to offer it abundantly the undeveloped natural resources of the country. On the other hand, the logic of the situation has kept development in the hands of the nation to a greater degree than in the United States, for the nation has been able to borrow money more cheaply than individuals or domestic corporations, and public ownership has played an important part in her upbuilding.

Pg 129 Argentina has paid, and so we have a situation which has never culminated in a crisis. The republics of the Caribbean have not been so fortunate. Much of the money has been borrowed, not for the purposes of improvement, but to finance revolution and for personal expenditure. Frittered away instead of put at productive work, it has become an increasing burden, in many cases an unbearable burden, and countries like Hayti, San Domingo, Honduras, and at times Mexico, have become internationally bankrupt. Protected against legal action by their sovereignty, the creditor and the debtor stood in a situation where force alone could determine their relationship. What the result would normally have been, is clearly enough indicated by the intervention of France in Mexico in 1861, and of Germany in Venezuela in 1902. The subjugation of the weak debtor by the strong creditor has been prevented not by sovereignty, but by the interposition of a third force, the United States inspired by the Monroe Doctrine.

While, however, the Monroe Doctrine served to maintain the appearance of independence for the nations concerned, it produced an impasse in the development of the frontier. Capital did not have to go to countries which could not be relied upon to pay up and which were protected from foreclosure by an outside force. The United States served the republics in somewhat the same manner that it did its own repudiating states. It was, however, unable to do as much for them as it did for its own. The wayward republics found themselves debarred from directing their own development as did our states in the critical forties, and there was no domestic capital to undertake the task. The capital willing to engage in work under such circumstances was that of the most speculative sort. Some gamblers staked their money on presidential contenders, seeking to gain control of the government. Others, more powerful and trusting in their power, offered to embark huge sums on condition of receiving Pg 130 stupendous grants of the natural resources and practical control of the whole development to be made in certain regions. Such was the much-discussed Morgan syndicate proposal to Honduras, and that of the English Pearson syndicate to Columbia. In the latter instance, the United States again intervened, fearing the influence of such aggregations of foreign capital, and expressed its opinion that such special concessions violated the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine and could not be allowed.

From the tightening deadlock thus produced, Diaz extricated Mexico for a time, but it lapsed, and the others showed no signs of the power to emerge. Such European capital as had been loaned felt not unjustly angry, such as was for hire sought other avenues and frontiers less peculiarly hedged in. The situation shouted for action, and action could come only from the United States, which would not permit simple logic to work its own conclusion. It was under such circumstances that President Roosevelt assumed the financial administration of San Domingo and inaugurated a policy which has been followed and extended by his successors. Justice, or approximate justice, has been done between debtor and creditor, but the active development of these frontiers is still halted for lack of a machinery for the future.

In striking contrast with these American frontiers has been that of Siberia. Here has taken place one of the greatest frontier advances of history, here the same localization of creditor and debtor has existed, yet the conflict of classes and sections has led neither to politics as in the United States, nor to diplomacy as in Latin America. Much of the capital has been provided by France, but the money has, for the most part, been borrowed by the national Russian government, representing a strong nation and an essential ally. The security of the creditor has rested in the good faith, not of the frontier but of an established society, which has wished Pg 131 constantly more and more money and has realized that an atmosphere of credit must be preserved.

As the frontier has had nothing to say concerning its credit relationships, so it has been equally powerless in controlling the expenditures of the money borrowed and the disposition of its natural resources. The sole check upon the absolute will of the central government has been the desire to attract labor to the frontier. Few laborers, as few capitalists, seek the wild for the mere adventure of subduing it. The bids and rival bids for settlers by those controlling various sections of the world-frontier for the last three centuries have been to a large extent the basis for those more liberal institutions which have developed on the fringe of society. Their bids have been determined by the character of the settlers they desired or found available, and have in considerable measure determined the character of the communities built up. Force has played its part as well as lure, and has given incurious Africa a share in the development of the Americas that the most psychological advertiser would never have secured for it. In the nineteenth century, Russia has had more command of force to populate her waste spaces than any other country. Consequently the actual frontiersmen have had less to say about the development of their own region than elsewhere. Yet it is easily possible to exaggerate the coercive power of the central government, in popular estimation it is probably exaggerated; and the plans for the settlement of Siberia have been to no small degree influenced by consideration for the ideals of the typical Russian and the incentives which would coerce him to move his hearthstone. Yet on the whole, simplicity and the carrying out of preconceived plans have worked the opening of this great frontier. That the great release which has just occurred in Russia will reveal where these plans have bound, and that the politics of the new republic will be colored by frontier problems, is inevitable.

Pg 132 Australia and New Zealand have, to an even greater extent than the American frontier, secured their labor and capital from another section of the same empire. The relations between the sections, however, are quite different. The local organization of the debtor communities resembles that of the American states; in fact, the scope of their power is much broader, but they do not possess that inviolability to legal attack which sovereignty gives, and have not been represented in the central government. Credit, therefore, has been a matter of neither politics nor diplomacy, but has been as firmly controlled by the lending section, England, as that of Siberia has been by Russia. Judicial unity, which has been the only organic bond of empire, makes the sovereign, like the Crown, identical in Brisbane and in London. There is no chance of reducing debts save by a separation, which other considerations have rendered furthest from the wishes of the debtors.

General diplomacy also has been largely excluded from local consideration. The creditor-debtor relationship was almost exclusively one within the empire, and the handling of other diplomatic questions was in the hands of the British government in which the frontier sections were represented only by influence. The attempts to arouse an imperial, not to say international, mind found hard sledging during the real development period, and only partially succeeded just before the Great War.

On the other hand, the locality has been absolute master of the expenditure of its borrowings. No subordinate communities in the world, most decidedly not the states of our Union, have been left so entirely free to control their development, not only to plan their transportation and allot their natural resources, but even to regulate their tariffs. It is not surprising that these governments, with credit carefully maintained by outside and unquestionable forces, found their politics in the working out of such development, and that, Pg 133 in large measure, borrowing has been done by the local governments, which have themselves spent the money borrowed. There can be no better security than that of a government incapacitated from repudiation. Creditors have lost comparatively little money to these frontiers, and so Australia and New Zealand have received their needed capital upon better terms, perhaps, than any of the other regions treated. How wisely they have spent it, is a matter of the most violent dispute.

Politics in communities barred from the great questions of credit and diplomacy yet organized on the basis of the broadest democracy and local autonomy, have naturally had their strikingly significant characteristics. Everyone knows how rich their statute books have been in laws relating to the distribution of natural resources and of all kinds of wealth, and to conditions of living. Everyone knows the sharp antagonism between labor, in the narrower sense of wage earner, and employers. That these frontiers have been experiment grounds in social legislation has not been due to their being frontier communities but because they have been frontier communities freed from some of the most characteristic frontier problems.

Rhodesia resembles Australia and New Zealand in local autonomy and lack of representation in the national government. In other respects, however, it is widely different. Here capital came first, and labor afterward. The capital, moreover, was not of the timid sort seeking small return and security, such as invested in the securities of New Zealand, Victoria, and New South Wales, nor did it entirely resemble that of the United States during the development period, which sought returns both large and immediate. The capitalists of Rhodesia could wait, in fact, are still waiting. Alone among the frontiers, Rhodesia has not been under the strain of seeking to make returns on its invested capital before development has reached the stage where returns can Pg 134 properly be expected. It may well hope to be freed from those complications of individual indebtedness, which have filled our courts with business, and strewn our advance with such tragedies as are even today occurring in northern Wisconsin.

Upon the capitalists thus far-sighted and enduring rested the full burden of development. The region was autonomous in its relation to the British Empire, but its non-resident creditors mapped out its future, not its settlers as in Australia. Capital under such circumstances looks for large rewards, and in this case expects to secure them by control of the natural resources, when these have been made available by the incoming of settlers. Youngest of the frontiers, the working of the old factors in this new relationship remains a question. One would expect economy and efficiency in planning, but possible conflicts between the resident community and its creditors over the division of the proceeds. The settlers that it seeks are of the most independent type, men not with energy alone, but with some small capital of their own. It offers them not only economic opportunity but also political privileges. How such a population will react under a system which restricts politics one degree more than they are restricted in Australia, by excluding the larger lines of local development such as transportation, is one of the interesting questions of tomorrow. One might look for some clue in the history of the American colonial proprietorships, but how far the intelligent study of those experiments will have enabled the proprietors of Rhodesia to avoid their mistakes, and how far the changed conditions created by two centuries of the most rapid change the world has seen, will modify the interworking of similar forces, no one can tell.

In organization, Canada is today, of course, like Australia, but whereas the commonwealth of Australia is but recent and was formed only after the scaffolding of development had been created, the Dominion of Canada was created Pg 135 in season to direct the most active period of frontiering. During the most significant period, therefore, Canada has had an organization that resembled our federal states. The resemblance, however, is partly superficial; in Canada the specified powers belong to the provinces, the undefined powers to the Dominion. Neither provinces nor Dominion, moreover, have possessed the legal inviolability of absolute sovereignty. The credit of all has been protected by the judicial unity of the empire, and the stability of the currency has not been a subject for politics. Diplomacy, also, has belonged to the mother country, although the proximity of the United States has not allowed it to be the blank it was so long in its Australian sister-colonies.

Economically the development of the Canadian frontier has more resembled that of the United States, for the capital required has come most largely from or through other sections of the same colony. As compared with the United States, however, development has been, until quite lately, slow. Consequently those regions which have passed beyond the frontier stage have continuously controlled the central government. There has been no parallel to the Jackson régime. Credit, therefore, has been doubly guarded, by the majority in Canada, and by Canada’s position within the British Empire. With the credit of the Dominion and of the provinces intact, there have been no intrinsic obstacles to the development of transportation and the control of resources by the public, and public works have played an important part. At the same time the period of greatest need coincided with the high tide of the individualistic movement in the Anglo-Saxon world. The principles of John Stuart Mill, of Cobbett and Bright, of Gladstone, Carlyle, and Emerson, dominated a generation devoted to the task of breaking down time-worn systems of social control and releasing the individual. The period of new regulations dictated by rising democracy had not swung in. Therefore, a very considerable portion of the Pg 136 task was left to private corporations, to whom were granted very considerable proportions of the natural resources. Corporation control and public enterprise, therefore, combined with unusual harmony in developing and exploiting a frontier which was, indeed, represented, but which could control in neither a positive nor a negative sense.

The recent and sudden expansion of the Canadian frontier in the west and northwest has created a new balance. The situation in Canada today resembles that in the United States when the advance of population from the Alleghanies to beyond the Mississippi gave the frontier an unusual political weight, and elected Andrew Jackson. This region is just now in the position where it is so eager to get capital that it is ready to agree to almost any terms to secure its railroads and farm machinery. When pay time comes, its sentiments will change. It is difficult to see how it can upset credit, but that, in combination with the democracy of the older portions of Canada, it will make its voice felt and play a part in Canadian politics that the frontier has never played in the long course of Canadian history, no student of frontiers can doubt.

On the whole, Canada has secured its capital at low interest rates, lower probably than any other frontier except Australia and New Zealand. It has, however, sacrificed the control of its natural resources to a considerable degree. The direction of its development has attracted both public attention and the labor of its strongest men controlling private capital. In none of the frontiers have the two systems been so equally blended.

Most hapless of the frontiers is that of Manchuria. It is at present a represented province of an imperial republic, which furnishes most of the labor required, but can furnish neither capital nor protection. Its capital comes, for the most part, from two rival foreign powers, who are not really creditor nations, but who are so eager to invest in Manchuria that they borrow from still other countries for the purpose. The Pg 137 local community has no more to say in regard to its development or the partition of its resources than Siberia. It does not, indeed, rest under any such obligation of paying as does Australia, for power rather than money return is sought by Russia and Japan, who furnish it with money on their own security and, therefore, at reasonably low rates. Undoubtedly, however, the successful grasp of power will mean such a hold on natural resources as will give those countries, in return for their guarantee, rewards which will be more satisfactory to them than to the actual conquerors of the Manchurian wilds. It will be interesting to see whether sectional interests will unite the Russian and Japanese settlers with the Chinese majority against the foreign capitalists, or whether racial antagonism will prove stronger than economic. Countless cross currents already chop the surface, and conditions point rather to a problem than a state.

Wide as is the field covered by the frontiers discussed, the Mississippi Valley, Argentina, the wilds encircling the Caribbean, Siberia, Australia, Canada, and Manchuria, it covers barely half the area where since the year 1800 European civilization has been struggling to establish itself by the occupation of regions wholly or partly vacant. Different as have been the conditions classified under which the simple underlying factors universally involved have operated, more have been left undescribed. Algiers has had a frontier incorporated as an integral part of France, a centralized republic. In fact, practically every region of Africa has presented a frontier, and the handling of frontier conditions by English, French, and Belgians, Boers, Germans, Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards, and American negroes. The greatest frontier area today is Brazil, and every country of Latin America has a frontier and its own slightly varying organization and balance of forces, while the British, French, and Dutch are all severally trying their hand on the particular problem of a tropical American frontier. Some portions of India, Persia, Pg 138 Arabia, Indo-China, China, Korea, the Philippines, Formosa, and many South Sea Islands, present the problem under special guises. Sweden, Norway, Russia, Canada, and the United States are all dealing with the possibility of pressing civilization into the fastnesses of the Arctic.

When one considers the extent of the world frontier in process of occupation during the last century, the persuasive effect of its call upon the older world for labor and capital, the coloring of the whole world by the natural resources it has unearthed and the institutions it has developed, its conquest can hardly be considered as second in influence to any factor of the time. Naturally it is not intended to present here even a basis for its study. The fundamental factors and the different systems can be accurately enough described in general terms, but the differences in their operation are less precise than has been indicated; private corporations exist in Siberia, state public improvements in the United States. Many of the similarities produced everywhere by frontier conditions have been neglected. The attempt has been merely to indicate some of the tendencies fostered by different types of control. The differences between the various frontiers, resulting from race and geography, which in many cases explain the different types of organization or modify their working, have been left untouched. The problem is immense, its study is one for generations. Yet some things he who runs may read. Even a partial acquaintance with the main features of all cannot but render the work of each statesman and historian more effective in his own particular task.

Some things will be understood only when no frontier, as we know it, exists. Yet even while we are in the current, we have accumulated some material, and it would seem to be contributory negligence not to use it. It must be patent that one must be honest or must pay for it. Can we not secure some rough idea of which system of approach has resulted in the greater justice between the creditor and debtor section, Pg 139 and what is justice? Has community control of its development or creditor control been most economical and most effective? Has exploitation to produce local capital any justification? What system has called to the task the greater proportion of ability? Would the United States have fared better under a system by which Webster, Clay, and Calhoun would have devoted to moulding the transportation system the genius they spent in bolstering up public credit? Which system has been the most responsive to the needs of the situation, and which has stimulated the greatest amount of public virtue, and which has been most easily manipulated for selfish advantage?

I haven’t the slightest intention of answering these questions here; I freely admit that many of them leave me perplexed, but I dogmatically maintain that it is by pondering such questions, by studying the comparisons they suggest, that the frontier problem is to be understood by the historian and comprehended by the statesman. Without such comparisons the student of the problem in any one field is less apt to judge a particular episode rightly than a man with no knowledge and good intentions. The path to wisdom and sure-footed action must be founded on the rock of exact knowledge, but it must be platted on a wide-spread survey.

All life reveals the irony of wisdom attained only by the experience to deal with which it was needed. It is but today we have this rich storehouse of experimental frontier building, and tomorrow we will have no frontier. It might seem that we could let a dead past bury its dead, that the study of frontier episodes, however successful, has become sheer antiquarianism. Such a view, however, minimizes the world frontier that remains and the time and effort that will be required in its conquest. As in science, so with the material world, the nineteenth century made easy sweeping advances; it left much that was difficult for the slower and more laborious labors of the twentieth. It overlooks the facts that great masses of the world’s inhabitants today count the experience Pg 140 of meeting the wild first-hand among the most important of their nearby inheritances, that the frontier set its mark upon them or their parents, or grandparents, and that the present generation cannot be understood unless the frontier is understood. Still more important is the consideration that in many instances the frontier merely localizes problems that are general. The factors with which this paper has dealt are peculiar to the frontier only in that the creditors are assembled in one section, the debtors in another. This is an important peculiarity in large part because it isolates the characteristics of each, and makes them easier of study. When the world has been fully occupied, new frontiers will appear, are already appearing. Natural resources now undreamed of will need capital and labor for their exploitation, will be susceptible of development in more than one way, and will raise problems of control. Our experiences with the rude and simple problem of the first occupation of a waste area will seem as geometry to calculus compared with those raised by these new frontiers, but will be as essential to a wise handling of them as geometry is to calculus.

But the instances that we have reviewed seem to carry a simpler and more immediate moral. When we see in the United States people of all nations laboring for the conquest of the Mississippi Valley, and employing money saved by New England and the Middle States or borrowed by them from Europe, when we see Russia borrowing French money to make Siberia habitable for Russian peasants, when Japan borrows in England, and Russia in France to pay Chinese to develop transportation in Manchuria, when Argentina borrows English money to employ Italians in the pampas, and Transvaal gold passes through English banks to build Rhodesian railways, we get glimpses of a new world. Not that these things are absolutely novel, but that in variety and extent they are unparalleled, and these experiences on the frontiers but bring into clearer view general tendencies of the time. The German invasion of Belgium uncovered for Pg 141 most of us the tens of thousands of Russians working in the Liege factories, the hundreds of thousands of Russians working on German farms, of Italians on the Rhine, of Spaniards in France; the war itself has hastened the movement with its vast importations of Indo-Chinese and Arabs into France, with its tight-woven mesh of international credit. The frontier still reveals most clearly how in the nineteenth century the business of life became international and how poorly devised was the world organization for coping with it.

Again, the experience of the frontier in the nineteenth century exhibits one step in the process of readjustment. Can one review the instances which have been noted, without feeling the theory of absolute sovereignty crumbling beneath his feet? The United States has in practice divided the sovereignty, and as a result surrendered the actual control to corporations they themselves created. The British Empire preserved unity in theory, but actually divided it still more effectually. What can a practical man make of the sovereignty of Honduras, where the native government cannot control its own development, the British Empire cannot protect its citizens’ money, and the United States can veto the actions of both but cannot take positive action; or of Manchuria, which is an integral portion of a sovereign republic, but which is actually as to one-half controlled by Russia and the other by Japan, both of whom are somewhat curtailed in their actions by promises to the United States. However one may cling to the legal theory of the absolute and indivisible character of sovereignty in independent localities, a study of the world frontier brings out the fact that no localities are independent in fact, or absolutely sovereign. The inter-growth of the world, which the development of the world frontier has so much facilitated, has already weakened the bulwarks of local independence; let us hope that with its international character the frontier may facilitate the integration of a world organization better adapted to the conditions of today, such an organization as tomorrow will be a necessity.

[82] Delivered as the annual address before the State Historical Society of Wisconsin October 25, 1917.

Pg 142


By George Manierre[83]

My grandfather, William Reid, came to Chicago in 1840. At that time, although a mere village of 4,479 inhabitants, it was in the midst of a speculative fever and was even then speaking of its certain future greatness and of Lake Geneva (Big Foot Lake) as a probable summer resort for its citizens. My grandfather came of a well-known family whose ancestor with his tenants fought at the battle of Bothwell Bridge, June 22, 1679, under the flag “For God, King, and Covenant,” and who inherited through him the estate of Kilbryd, situated near Glasgow, Scotland. William Reid inherited wealth which he, as a barrister, increased, so that at about middle life he made up his mind to retire. Unfortunately for his family his investments proved unsuccessful, and after the loss of the greater part of his fortune he came to America and started anew. When he came to Chicago he had a relatively large sum of money, which, if invested in Chicago, might eventually have increased to great wealth; but he was stricken by the Lake Geneva fever and went there with his family, locating at the head of the lake. He invested largely in land by the lake and on Big Foot Prairie, buying a large tract of land on the higher ground and about seventy acres along the lake.


From a water color in the Wisconsin Historical Library painted in 1842 by Mrs. James Drew

My grandmother, Mary Drew, came of a cultivated family which was distantly related to the family of the Duke of Hamilton. Her niece was the first wife of William Gladstone, the English statesman. Mention is made of these things to show the change from the ease of their former mode Pg 143 of living to the vicissitudes which locating on the frontier entailed.

My grandparents had nine children, five boys and four girls, part of whom were born in the log house at the head of the lake. This house stood about two hundred feet from shore at the bottom of a rise of ground known as the Potawatomi Indian burial ground, upon which site the electric railway depot now stands. I remember as a boy digging Indian relics out of this hill. The house was neatly built of logs and had two large wings; in the center of one room was a fireplace suitable for burning large logs. Among the early settlers in the neighborhood at this time who had land and houses at the head of the lake were the Van Slykes,[84] the Mohrs,[85] the Russells,[86] and the Douglasses.[87]

Here the children grew up with the ordinary opportunities of farmers’ children and had no better advantages; and years later my cousin, Jessie (Reid) Donaldson, my brother, Will, and I used to come here to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of grandfather’s place. Will and I had a little pony called Jenny and a wagon which we used to drive to The Corners for mail. Whenever Jenny wanted to go into the barn or whenever we took her to the blacksmith’s to be shod, she had a funny trick of rapping on the door with her feet.

I remember the Baptist people used frequently to come down to the lake in front of my grandfather’s house, and that Pg 144 the minister would there duck the women under the water, according to their custom. My aunt, with great sympathy, would lead the women into the house, where they could change their clothes.

South of the house, where a stream ran through the inlet into the lake, was a marsh, in the center of which was an island. Here in those early days deer were often to be seen. Prairie chickens were plentiful on Big Foot Prairie, and in the spring wild pigeons, now extinct, flew over it in countless numbers. Woodcock, ruffed grouse, and squirrels were also numerous. In the lake there was a large quantity of game fish, among which were the cisco. These were seen only during the last days of May or the early days of June when they came from the depths of the lake to the shallow water to feed on the May flies and to spawn. Of the wild life existing at that time, only a fraction now remains.

Matthias Mohr owned the old sawmill on the rising ground at the south end of the marsh. The race was fed by a large brook that emptied into the marsh. This beautiful spot, surrounded by bushes and trees, was often visited by me. The old wheel was still, but it was pleasant to listen to the sound of the clear, cold water of the brook as it rushed over the dismantled wheel to its outlet in the marsh. This brook was afterward dammed up and used for raising brook trout.

Numerous beautiful springs were to be found running from the higher ground to the lake. About half a mile north of the house was a small schoolhouse where I remember being spelled down by a little girl. The house was afterward occupied by an English laborer by the name of Blackwell, and I have his son Bill in pleasant remembrance. The road past the schoolhouse at the foot of a high bluff ran south by Douglass’ Mill and north to the farm belonging to my grandfather. From Douglass’ Mill,[88] which was built by C. L. Pg 145 Douglass and first used as a sawmill and then as a gristmill, we used to go on up a very steep hill to the road going west to The Corners, about three miles from my grandfather’s house, where at that early day the mail was obtained. The village located where the mill once stood has since been called Fontana.[89]

Later we went to Walworth for the mail, taking the road running south. The town of Walworth was founded in 1836 by James Van Slyke who made his residence at the head of the lake. The only residents there about 1840 were Christopher Douglass and sons, Marcus Russell, James Van Slyke, Matthias Mohr, and William Reid. Matthias Mohr purchased 50 acres in the town of Walworth in 1840, and in 1843 he purchased 38 acres more. In 1840 William Reid purchased 960¼ acres, in 1840 Marcus Russell purchased 80 acres, and in 1841, Christopher Douglass purchased 480 acres, all in the town of Walworth.

The village of Walworth had a store, a blacksmith shop, the Red Lion Hotel, and the Brick Church. In the Brick Church cemetery are buried today the remains of my grandfather and my grandmother and a number of their children. The Red Lion Hotel was used by many people passing on the main road from town to town in Wisconsin.

A short distance to the north of grandfather’s house was the sugar bush. This was at the bottom of the high hills going north up to Russell’s. Near the place stood the old Potawatomi village and cornfields which Mrs. Kinzie in her book Wau Bun speaks of visiting in 1831.[90] I well remember seeing Pg 146 the Indian trail back of the house leading up to the higher land in the sugar bush.

The country at the head of the lake was filled with large butternut, walnut, hickory, basswood, ash, sugar maple, white-, black-, and burr-oak trees. The sugar bush, through which a clear, cold brook ran murmuring to its outlet in the lake, was notable for its many butternut trees and was one of the most beautiful spots that could be seen anywhere about the lake. I remember well the large oak tree near my grandfather’s house in which a canoe had been placed holding the remains of a relative[91] of Big Foot,[92] an Indian chief after whom Big Foot Prairie was named. The wood of the softer trees near the farm was used by the Reid family for the rails from which snake fences were made. I remember my father and driver taking stakes from a snake fence and putting them in the mud for my mother to stand on.

In the early days my father and mother in going to Lake Geneva had to go by wagon. When the railroads were built, they took a train to Turner Junction (now West Chicago) located thirty miles west of Chicago, and from there took a wagon to Lake Geneva. Later they went by the same railroad (the Northwestern) to Harvard Junction and from there by wagon to the head of the lake.

At Harvard was located a hotel owned by Elbridge G. Ayer,[93] the father of Edward E. Ayer of this city. This hotel Pg 147 was a few feet from the track and its dining-room furnished meals to the people traveling on that road. This dining-room was known all over the West, for at that time there was no other that could compete with it. All the vegetables, meat, poultry, and pastry were cooked in the most appetizing manner and the products furnished for the table came fresh from Mr. Ayer’s farm. My father and mother, my brother Will, and I have often taken meals at this hotel on our way from the Junction to the lake. The village of Harvard was afterward beautified by Mr. Ayer’s son, Edward E. Ayer, who planted fourteen hundred trees about it. Most of these are standing today and are an evidence of the public spirit of the donor, which is seen in Chicago in his activities in behalf of the Newberry Library, Field Museum, and other institutions.[94]

My grandmother’s brother, James Drew, a wealthy barrister from London, England, and his wife visited his sister at the head of the lake in 1842. At this time Mrs. Drew made a small water-color drawing of the house and its vicinity which has recently been placed in the Wisconsin Historical Library.

My recollections of Geneva go back to the early fifties. I can remember going with my uncle in a rowboat from the head to the foot of the lake, some eight miles. At that time there were no steamboats on the lake and an unbroken forest covered its shores. The high ground bordering the lake was Pg 148 about 175 feet above the beach line. The depth of the lake has since been found to be from 80 to 181 feet. The lake is eight miles long and from one to two miles wide. It empties into the Fox River by a deep creek at the east end.

My mother, Ann Hamilton Reid, daughter of William Reid, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, October 23, 1823. She was married to my father, George Manierre, after whom I was named, in Detroit in 1842.

[83] The author’s reminiscences of the Manierre family have been printed in Volume 8 Number 3 of the Illinois State Historical Society Publications.

[84] James Van Slyke made the first settlement near the Potawatomi Indian village in that place which later became the town of Walworth. He built a cabin and moved his family there from Geneva in the fall of 1836. Mrs. Van Slyke is supposed to have been the only white woman who spent that winter there. Many stories are told of the courage she displayed in this frontier community.

[85] Matthias Mohr was one of the earliest residents of Walworth County, settling on part of the Van Slyke claim at the head of Lake Geneva in 1837. He later went to Kansas where he died in 1887. Glenwood Springs Park now stands on the site of his farm.

[86] Marcus and Robert Russell settled at the west end of Lake Geneva in 1837. Robert Russell later moved to Iowa. Marcus Russell died in 1875.

[87] Christopher Douglass was born in Connecticut in 1797 and moved to Wisconsin in 1837, settling on Big Foot Prairie. In 1842 he moved to the town of Walworth, where he kept a hotel for several years. In 1857 he took up his residence at the head of Lake Geneva where he died in 1866.

[88] C. L. Douglass, son of Christopher Douglass, was born in New York November 4, 1827, and came to Wisconsin with his father in 1837. In 1857 he built and equipped Big Foot Mills which he continued to operate for thirty years. He died January 6, 1898.

[89] Fontana, a summer resort at the head of Lake Geneva, covers the site of the old Potawatomi village and is part of the old Van Slyke claim. It was purchased of Van Slyke in 1838 by Matthias Mohr, Amos Bailey, and Dr. Henry Clark, who platted and named the village.

[90] Mrs. John H. Kinzie, Wau Bun, the early day in the North-west (New York, 1856), 318-22. Mrs. Kinzie in company with her husband, U. S. sub-Indian agent at Fort Winnebago, was making the trip from Chicago to Fort Winnebago (Portage) in 1831 when she visited Big Foot’s village. She describes the chief as a “large, rawboned, ugly Indian with a countenance bloated by intemperance, and with a sinister, unpleasant expression.”

[91] This was Big Foot’s son, who died about 1830. The body was encased in a rude coffin and fastened to the limbs of a tree overlooking the lake. Big Foot is said to have given as his reason for this mode of burial that his son had been unusually fond of lake scenery, and he would thus enjoy a fine view of it from the land to which he had gone.

[92] Big Foot was the last chief of his band to rule his people in their own land. In 1827, when the Winnebago were on the war path, Big Foot, a sturdy hater of the whites, tried to incite the Potawatomi to join the northern Indians. He was prevented by measures taken by Gov. Lewis Cass which culminated in the treaty of September 15, 1827. Being bound by former treaties, Big Foot remained neutral during the Black Hawk War. By the treaty of 1832 the territory of the Potawatomi and their allies, the Chippewa and the Ottawa, comprising southeastern Wisconsin, passed to the United States government. Big Foot refused to sign the treaty until the other chiefs had done so.

[93] Elbridge Gerry Ayer, born in Haverhill, Mass., July 25, 1813, came to Wisconsin in 1836. In 1847 he moved to Walworth, going from there to McHenry County, Ill. in 1857, where he founded the town of Harvard. There for eighteen years he and his wife conducted one of the best hotels in the state. During the Civil War they gave without pay food, lodging, and other assistance to the wounded Union soldiers detained in that vicinity. On the occasion of their golden wedding in 1885 Gov. James Lewis of Wisconsin, on behalf of the Wisconsin soldiers, presented to Mr. and Mrs. Ayer a gold cup, now in the museum of the Wisconsin Historical Society. The inscription is as follows: “Presented to Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Ayer by the Wisconsin soldiers as a token of remembrance and appreciation of the many acts of kindness toward them during the dark days of the Rebellion, from 1861 to 1865, Oct. 29, 1885.”

[94] Edward Everett Ayer, of Chicago, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge G. Ayer, has long been connected with enterprises relating to arts and letters. He is a director of the Newberry Library, of the Field Museum, and of the Art Institute. He himself has one of the finest private libraries in the United States which contains manuscripts relating to the early history of North America, the Indians, Mexico, the West Indies, and the Philippines.

Pg 149



By Rasmus B. Anderson

I have been asked to prepare a brief introduction for Ole Nattestad’s description of his journey from Norway to America in 1837. In complying with this request I shall make free use of facts and statements published by me in various other works and particularly in my First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration (1906).

The Norsemen have an honorable place in the annals of America. We may, indeed, say that the civilized history of this country begins with the Norsemen. If you look at a map you will at once find that Greenland and even a part of Iceland belong to the western hemisphere, and Iceland became the hinge upon which the door swings that opens America to Europe. It was the occupation of Iceland by the Norsemen in the year 874 and the frequent voyages between this island and Norway that led to the discovery and settlement first of Greenland and then of America, and it is due to the culture and fine historical taste of the Icelanders that carefully prepared records of these Norse voyages were kept, first to teach pelagic navigation to Columbus and afterwards to solve for us the mysteries concerning the first discovery of this continent.

The old republican Vikings well understood the importance of studying the art of ship-building and of navigation. They knew how to measure time by the stars and how to calculate the course of the sun and moon. They were themselves pioneers in venturing out upon the high seas and taught the rest of the world to navigate the ocean. Every scrap of written history sustains me when I say that the other peoples Pg 150 of the world were limited in their nautical knowledge to coast navigation. The Norse Vikings who crossed the stormy North Sea, finding their way to Great Britain, to the Orkneys, the Faröes, and to Iceland, all those heroes who found their way to Greenland and Vinland, taught the world pelagic navigation. They demonstrated the possibility of venturing out of sight of land, and in this sense, if in no other, we may with perfect propriety assert that the Norsemen taught Columbus how to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

That the Norsemen held an honorable place in the annals of America is shown by a fact of the greatest importance in the world’s history, namely, that the Norsemen anticipated by five centuries Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucius and the new world was discovered by Leif Erikson in the year 1000. About the year 860 the Norsemen discovered Iceland and soon afterwards (in 874) they established upon this island a republic which flourished for 400 years. Greenland was seen for the first time in 876 by Gunnbjorn Ulfson from Norway. About a century later, in the year 984, Erik the Red resolved to go in search of the lands in the west which Gunnbjorn as well as others later had seen. He sailed from Iceland, and found a land as he had expected, and remained there exploring the country for two years. At the end of this period he returned to Iceland, giving the newly-discovered country the name of Greenland in order, as he said, to attract settlers who would be favorably impressed with so pleasing a name. Thus, as Greenland belongs geographically wholly to America, it will be seen that Erik the Red was the first white man to boom American real estate. And he was successful. Many Norsemen emigrated, particularly from Iceland, and a flourishing colony with Gardar as its capital and Erik the Red as its first governor was established and became the first settlement of Europeans in the new world. In the year 1261 it became subject to the crown of Norway. We have a list of seventeen bishops who served Pg 151 in Greenland. Erik the Red and his followers were not Christian when they settled in Greenland, but worshippers of Odin and Thor, though they relied chiefly on their own might and strength. Christianity was introduced among them about the year 1000, though Erik the Red continued to adhere to the religion of his fathers to his dying day.

The first white man whose eyes beheld any part of the American continent was the Norseman, Bjarne Herjulfson, who saw this land in the year 986. The first white man who, to our knowledge, planted his feet on the soil of the American continent was Leif Erikson, the son of Erik the Red, in the year 1000; and Leif’s brother Thorvald, who died in 1002, was the first white man and the first Christian who was buried beneath American sod. Thorfin Karlsefne, who landed in 1007, was the first white man to found a settlement within the limits of the present United States, and his wife, Gudrid, was the first white woman who came to Vinland. In the year 1008 she gave birth to a son in Vinland. The boy, who received in baptism the name Snorre, was the first person of European descent born in the new world. In 1112 Erik Upsi settled as bishop in Greenland and in 1121 this same bishop went on a missionary journey from Greenland to Vinland, the first visit of a Christian minister to the American continent. The last of these interesting voyages before the rediscovery of America by Columbus was in the year 1347 when a Greenland ship with a crew of eighteen men came from Nova Scotia (Markland) to Straumfjord in Iceland. Thus it appears that the Vinland voyages extended over a period of about 350 years and to within 145 years of the rediscovery of America by Columbus in 1492. From the accounts of these voyages and settlements we get our first knowledge and descriptions of the aborigines of America.

While Leif Erikson was the first white man to plant his feet on the eastern shores of the American continent, it was left to another plucky Scandinavian to become the discoverer Pg 152 of the narrow body of water which separates America from Asia. Vitus Bering was a Dane born in Jutland, in Denmark, in 1680. He entered the service of Russia and in 1725 was made commander-in-chief of one of the greatest geographical expeditions ever undertaken. He explored the Sea of Kamchatka and during this voyage in 1728 he discovered Bering Strait and ascertained that Asia was not joined to America, thus becoming the discoverer of the extreme western boundary line of the continent.

The first visit of Scandinavians to America proper in post-Columbian times occurred in the year 1619, just a year before the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. In the spring of that year King Christian IV fitted out two ships, the Eenhjorningen and the Lamprenen, for the purpose of finding a northwest passage to Asia. The commander of this expedition was the Norwegian, Jens Munk, born at Barby in southern Norway in 1579. Sailing from Copenhagen with his two ships and sixty-six men May 9, 1619, he explored Hudson Bay and took possession of the surrounding country in the name of his sovereign and gave it the name of Nova Dania. All the members of this expedition perished except Jens Munk and two of his crew, who returned to Norway September 25, 1620, the undertaking having proved a complete failure. The ship chaplain on this expedition was a Danish Lutheran minister, Rasmus Jensen Aarhus, the first minister to preach Lutheranism in the new world. He died February 20, 1620, on the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Churchill River. His last sermon was a funeral sermon preached from his own death bed.

Norwegians and Danes came to New Amsterdam (New York) at a very early period. Traces of Scandinavians in New York can be found as early as 1617. In 1704 these Norwegians and Danes built a stone church on the corner of Broadway and Rector streets, where regular services were held in the Danish language until the property was sold to Pg 153 Trinity Church, the present churchyard occupying the site of the early building. The first directory published in New York shows many names of unquestionable Norwegian or Danish origin.

It is well known that the Swedes founded a settlement on the Delaware in 1638, and the Swedish language was used in a Philadelphia church as late as 1823. John Morton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and an active member of the Continental Congress, was a descendant of the Swedes of Delaware. Robert Anderson, the gallant defender of Fort Sumter, against which the first gun of the Civil War was fired, was also a scion of the Swedes on the Delaware, and so it appears that love of freedom and patriotism and statecraft and valor came to America not only in the Mayflower but also in the Kalmarnyckel and Vogelgrip, which brought the first Swedish settlers to America in 1638.

How many Norwegians landed in America between the years 1492 and 1821 it is impossible to determine. There are no government statistics to guide us and we know there was no regular or systematic emigration from any of the Scandinavian countries. It is certain that no Norwegians came in collective bodies to form settlements, and we can trace them only through their descendants who have kept family records or through public documents or published works where they happen to be mentioned. In this way some of the Scandinavians who settled in New Amsterdam have been found.

In a similar manner we find the names of Norwegians and Swedes who took part in the war of the Revolution. There is the case of Thomas Johnson. In Volume 28 (1874) of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register we find a full account of Thomas Johnson who served under Paul Jones, first in the crew of the Ranger and afterwards in the crew of the Bonhomme Richard. Johnson was the son of a Pg 154 pilot at Mandal, a seaport on the southwest coast of Norway, where he was born in 1758. In the absence of his father, he towed the first American vessel, the Ranger, commanded by Paul Jones, into the harbor of Mandal. After their arrival Jones sent for the young pilot and, presenting him with a piece of gold, expressed his pleasure at his expert seamanship, which he had minutely watched during the towing of the ship into the harbor. Jones had made the port of Mandal for the purpose of recruiting the crew of the Ranger; and, satisfactory arrangements having been made with his father, Johnson was received on board as a seaman. Thomas Johnson died at the age of ninety-three at the United States Naval Asylum in Philadelphia on July 12, 1851; he had been there for many years a pensioner, and was known by the soubriquet “Paul Jones.” The account of Thomas Johnson led me to investigate further into the history of John Paul Jones, and in his biography, written by John Henry Sherburne, register of the navy of the United States, published at Washington in 1825, I found a roll of officers, seamen, marines, and volunteers who served on board the Bonhomme Richard in her cruise made in 1779. In this roll the native country of every man is given and in it I found two seamen born in Norway and seven born in Sweden.

Here I may also mention the brilliant Swede, Colonel Axel Fersen, who, in 1779, went to France where he was appointed colonel of the Royal Regiment of Swedes. He served with distinction at the head of his regiment in the later campaigns of the American War, distinguishing himself on various occasions, particularly in 1781, during the siege of Yorktown, where he was aide-de-camp to General Rochambeau. He also took part in the negotiations between General Washington and General Rochambeau. He afterwards became Marshal of the kingdom of Sweden.

It is fair to presume that a considerable number of enterprising Scandinavians found their way to their old Vinland Pg 155 during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and particularly during the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

In the early days of the American republic diplomatic and consular relations were established with the Scandinavian countries, and there was more or less commerce between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and the United States. This financial and commercial intercourse would naturally induce some Scandinavians to visit the United States and others to settle within our gates. The many Scandinavian names found in the old directories of New York, Philadelphia, and other eastern cities are largely to be accounted for in this manner.

From the year 1820 the United States government supplies us with immigration statistics, but in these Sweden and Norway are grouped together down to the year 1868, and hence it is impossible to determine until then how many immigrants came from each country. From the year 1836 we are helped out by Norway, where the government then began to collect and prepare statistics of emigration.

The father of Norwegian emigration to the United States in the nineteenth century was Kleng Peerson from near Stavanger, Norway. In the year 1821 he with a comrade, Knud Olson Eide, was sent from Norway to New York by the Society of Quakers in and near Stavanger for the purpose of making an investigation of conditions and opportunities in the United States. After a sojourn of three years in America, all that time being spent in and around New York City, they returned to Norway. Here their reports of social, political, and religious conditions in America and their description of opportunities in the new world awakened great interest, inducing a resolution on the part of many to emigrate. Lars Larsen, the man at whose house the first Quaker meeting had been held in Stavanger in 1816, at once undertook to organize a party of emigrants. Being successful in finding the number of people who were ready and willing to join him, the heads of families furnished their scanty possessions Pg 156 in money and purchased a sloop which had been built in the Hardanger Fjord between Stavanger and Bergen and which they loaded with a cargo of iron. For this sloop and cargo they paid the sum of $1,800.

This little Norwegian Mayflower of the nineteenth century received the name Restaurationen (the “Restoration”) and on the day of American Independence, July 4, 1825, the brave little company of emigrants sailed out of the harbor of the ancient and grotesque city of Stavanger. The company consisted of fifty-two persons, including the two officers, chiefly from Stavanger City and Tysver Parish, north of Stavanger. They were fifty-two when they left Stavanger, but when they reached New York on the second Sunday of October (October 9) they numbered fifty-three, the wife of the leader, Larsen, having given birth to a beautiful girl baby on the second of September.

From 1825 to 1836 there was but little emigration from Norway. Before 1836 there were no vessels carrying emigrants from Norway to America. Those who did emigrate came either by way of Gothenborg, Sweden, or Havre, in which cities passengers to America could be accommodated.

Gothenborg vessels carried Swedish iron to America but emigrants frequently had to wait for weeks before they found a ship bound for New York. From Hamburg regular packet ships carried German emigrants, but these were so numerous that there was frequently a delay of from two to three weeks before they could be accommodated. In Havre the emigrant packets were also regular but there were not so many emigrants and the Norwegians could count on going on the first ship leaving port. This made Havre the most popular point of departure from Europe for the Norwegians.

Of course, a great number of letters were written by the Norwegians in America to relatives and friends in Norway and these were read by hundreds who were anxious to better their fortunes. Finally, one of the sloop passengers, Knud Pg 157 Anderson Slogvig, returned to Norway in 1835 and the news that he had arrived at his old home in the Skjold district spread far and wide and created the greatest excitement. He was the hero of the day. People traveled hundreds of miles to see and talk with him. Letters from emigrants had been read with the deepest interest but here was a man who had spent ten years in the new world! Through Knud Slogvig the American fever spread beyond the limits of Stavanger Amt and Christiansand Stift. This led to the great exodus of 1836, when the two Koehler brigs, Norden and Den Norske Klippe, were fitted out for emigrants in Stavanger and left that summer loaded with about two hundred passengers for New York. On board the Norden my father and mother and my two oldest brothers were passengers. The American fever continued, calling for two ships in 1837, the Aegir from Bergen and the Enighedon from Egershund. Then there was a partial lull, until after 1840, when the American fever set in for good. It has continued to rage ever since, culminating in the year 1882, when over 29,000 Norwegians landed in the United States.

Those who came in the sloop Restaurationen settled in Kendall, Orleans County, New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario. In 1833 we find Kleng Peerson in company with a Quaker, Ingebret Larsen Narvig, who had come from Norway to Boston in 1831 and footed it from there to Kendall, on their way to the far west. Larsen parted company with Kleng and went to work for a farmer in Michigan. Kleng continued his journey westward until he reached La Salle County, Illinois, and there selected the location of the second Norwegian settlement in this country. Kendall and Fox River settlement in Illinois was his undying glory. Most of the settlers in Orleans County, New York, on the advice of Kleng, moved to the Fox River settlement. In 1836 these were joined by the 200 immigrants who came in the Norden Pg 158 and the Den Norske Klippe, and in 1837 by many of those who came in the Aegir and the Enighedon.

One of the Norwegians who came in the Aegir was Ole Rynning, a name well known in the annals of Norwegian immigration. On reaching Chicago he was persuaded by a couple of Americans to go with some of his friends to inspect lands some eighty miles south of Chicago along Beaver Creek with the view of founding a Norwegian settlement there. Ole Rynning chose as his companions on this journey of inspection Niels Veste from Etne in Norway, Ingebrigt Brudvig, and Ole Nattestad from Numedal, Norway, the latter the author of the book herewith published. Ole Nattestad and his brother, Ansten, had just arrived by way of Gothenborg, Sweden, and Fall River, Massachusetts, and joining a group of other immigrants in Detroit, Michigan, had accompanied them to Chicago. The rest of the company remained in Chicago to await the result. Ole Nattestad stated that he did not like the land, it being sandy and swampy, but as the others were pleased with it, it was agreed that Nattestad and Veste should remain and put up a log house for the reception of the immigrants while Rynning and Brudvig returned to Chicago to fetch their friends.

Some of those who were left in Chicago in the meantime had gone to the Fox River settlement but the most of them went with Rynning and Brudvig to Beaver Creek. There were no settlers in the immediate vicinity and it was difficult to procure the common necessities of life, although the most of these people were well supplied with money. Many of the new settlers grumbled and were inclined to find fault with Ole Rynning and the others who were responsible for the selection of this settlement. All chose land for farms, and before winter set in a sufficient number of log houses had been built. The number of settlers here was about fifty. These people were well and happy in America during the first winter, but the next spring the whole settlement was flooded Pg 159 and the swamp was turned into a veritable lake. In the summer the settlers were attacked by malarial fever. In a short time no less than fourteen or fifteen deaths occurred and among those who here found his last resting place was Ole Rynning. The survivors fled, leaving farms and houses, as there was nobody to buy land where a malarial atmosphere threatened the inhabitants with almost certain destruction. The most of those who fled found their way to the Fox River settlement, reaching there late in the summer of 1838. Only a few remained two or three years, defying the dangers to health and life, the last one to leave the colony being Mons Aadland, a brother of the well-known journalist and author, Knud Langland. He finally exchanged his farm for a small number of cows at auction and went to Racine County, Wisconsin, where he lived to a ripe old age.

Ole Rynning became particularly conspicuous and influential on account of a book which he published in Christiania, Norway, in 1838, the title of which is “Sandfaerdig Beretning on Amerika til Oplysning og Nytte for Bonde og Menigmand forfattet af en norsk, som kom derover i Juni Maaned 1837,” that is, “A Truthful Account of America for the Instruction and Help of the Peasant and Commoner Written by a Norwegian Who Came there in the Month of June, 1837.” The author’s name is given at the end of the preface where we read: “Illinois, February 13, 1838, Ole Rynning.”

This little book of only thirty-nine pages is now exceedingly scarce. I obtained a copy of it from Rev. B. J. Muus of Goodhue County, Minnesota. In the nineties I reprinted it in Amerika and struck off about two hundred copies which I had bound and placed in various libraries. A copy of it may be found in the library of the Wisconsin State Historical Society.

We began with Erik the Red and Leif Erikson and have now come to the brothers, Ole and Ansten Nattestad. Ole K. Pg 160 Nattestad was born December 24, 1807; died May 28, 1886. His wife died September 15, 1888. Ansten K. Nattestad was born August 20, 1813; died April 8, 1889.

The fourth Norwegian settlement in America and the first in Wisconsin was founded by Ole Knudsen Nattestad (changed in America to Natesta) who was accordingly the first Norwegian to set foot on Wisconsin soil. He came to Clinton, Rock County, Wisconsin, July 1, 1838, and this was the beginning of the so-called Jefferson Prairie settlement, which occupies the southeast corner of Rock County and extends into Boone County, Illinois. They came from Vegli, Rolloug Parish in Numedal, Norway, by way of Gothenborg and Fall River, Massachusetts.

When the Beaver Creek settlement was abandoned, Ansten Nattestad, in the spring of 1838, returned to Norway, taking with him the Ole Rynning manuscript and also the manuscript of a journal kept by his brother, Ole Nattestad. Ansten stated that this manuscript of his brother was published in Drammen, Norway, that same year but in spite of the most diligent search I have never been able to secure a copy of that edition. In Norway copies of all publications are placed in the University Library. I had this library searched for a copy of Nattestad’s book but none could be found. In an interview published in Billed Magazin in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1869, Ansten Nattestad made the following statement:

In the spring of 1838 I went from Beaver Creek, Illinois, by way of New Orleans to Liverpool in England and thence to Norway to visit friends and acquaintances in my native land. I brought with me letters from nearly all the earlier Norwegian emigrants whom I had met and in this way information was scattered far and wide in Norway. My brother’s journal was published in Drammen and Ole Rynning’s work on matters of the new world appeared at the same time in Christiania. Of Rynning’s book I brought the manuscript with me from America. The Rev. Mr. Kragh in Eidsvold read the proofs and left out the chapter about the Norwegian clergymen who therein were accused of intolerance in religious matters and inactivity in questions concerning the betterment of the people in temporal affairs and in questions concerning the advancement of education.

Pg 161 In 1869 Ole Nattestad gave the following account of himself in the Billed Magazin referred to above:

As the next oldest of three brothers, I did not have the right of primogeniture to my father’s farm which, according to law, and custom, would go to the oldest son. My ambition was to become a farmer, and I hoped some day to be able to buy a farm in my own neighborhood. Then my brother entered the military school in Christiania and I was to manage the farm during his absence. I entered upon my task cheerfully, worked with all my might and kept a careful account of income and disbursements. To my great surprise, I soon found that in spite of all my toil and prudence, I did not make much headway. When the year was ended, I had little or nothing left as a reward for my labor and it was clear to me that it would not do to buy an expensive farm and run in debt for it. Farming did not pay in the locality where I was born. I then tried the occupation of an itinerant merchant. I could earn a living in this way, but the laws were against me and I did not like to carry on a business of such a nature that it was necessary to keep my affairs secret from the lensmand [undersheriff]. Then I worked awhile as a blacksmith. This furnished me enough to do, but it was difficult to collect the money I earned. The law did not permit me to work at my trade in the city. Then [in 1836] my younger brother, Ansten, and I went across the mountains to the western part of Norway to buy sheep which we intended to sell again. While we were stopping in the vicinity of Stavanger, we heard much talk about a country which was called America. This was the first time we heard this word. We saw letters written by Norwegians who were living in America and we were told that Knud Slogvig, who, many years before that had emigrated in a sloop [Restaurationen] from Stavanger, had lately visited his native land and had given so favorable a report about America that about 150 [should be 200] emigrants from Stavanger Amt and from Hardanger had gone back with him and had sailed that very summer [1836] in two brigs from Stavanger across the ocean. They had gone in spite of all sorts of threats and warnings about slavery, death, and disease. This was the first large exodus after the emigration of the sloop party in 1825. All that we here saw was so new and came to us so unexpectedly that we were not at once able to arrange all the reports into a systematic whole and thus get a correct idea of conditions in the new world. But when I spent the following Christmas with Even Nubbru who was a member of the Storthing from Sigdal we discussed the hard times in my native valley and I suggested that I might have better luck in some other part of the country. In replying Even Nubbru remarked that wherever I went in the world, I would nowhere find a people who had as good laws as the Americans. He had accidentally just had the opportunity of reading something about America in a German newspaper and he described the free institutions of America. This information had a magic effect on me as I looked upon it as an injustice that the laws of Norway should forbid me to trade and not allow me to get my living by honest work as a mechanic wherever I desired to locate. I had confidence in the judgment of the member of the Storthing and I Pg 162 compared his remarks with what I had heard about America in the vicinity of Stavanger. Gradually I got to thinking of emigration and while considering the matter on my way home, the idea matured into a resolution. My brother Ansten did not have to be asked a second time. He was willing at once; he approved of my plans and in April, 1837, we were ready for our journey. When we left home, we had together about eight hundred dollars, Norwegian money, but this sum gradually grew less on account of our expenses on the way and besides we lost considerable in changing our money into American coin. Ansten also paid the passage for Halsten Halvorsen Braekke-Eiet who now [1869] resides in Dodgeville [Wisconsin], and is looked upon as an excellent blacksmith.

Our equipment consisted of the clothes we wore, a pair of skis, and a knapsack. People looked at us with wonder and intimated that we must have lost our senses. They suggested that we had better hang ourselves in the first tree in order to avoid a worse fate. We went on skis across the mountains from Rolloug to Tin and thence in a direct line over hills and through forests to Stavanger, where we expected to get passage across the sea. We did not worry about the roads for all three of us were experts on skis and our baggage caused us no inconvenience. In Stavanger we told everybody that we were going to America and wanted to secure passage across the sea. This open-heartedness came near spoiling our plans. The report of three mountaineers soon spread over the whole city and high government officials came to see our passports. We were now told that the bailiff’s passport only permitted us to go to Stavanger while the certificate from the pastor correctly stated that we intended to leave the country and emigrate to America. We were not versed in such things and thought our papers were in order, especially as the documents we carried gave testimony that we were men of good habits and Christian conduct. No suspicious remarks were made but in the evening there came a man who was angry on account of the wrong the officials were going to do us and related that it had been resolved that we were to be arrested the following day and then to be sent from lensmand to lensmand to our native valley as we intended to leave the country without permission being given in the passport from the bailiff. The government here, he said, was in a bitter rage against all emigrants and we could not count on any mercy. On this man’s advice we departed secretly from Stavanger under cover of night in order to avoid the danger that threatened us and without attracting any attention we got to Tananger. Here we met a skipper who, with his yacht loaded with herring, was ready to sail to Gothenborg. He promised to take us on board, but when we told him what had happened to us in Stavanger, he became doubtful. He praised our honesty, and on further assurance that we would assume all responsibility if we got in trouble, he decided to accept us as passengers. We acted discreetly while we were ashore and we felt greatly relieved when we finally got to sea. In Gothenborg we had no mishaps, and we secured passage in a vessel loaded with Swedish iron and bound for Fall River, Massachusetts. The journey lasted thirty-two days and we paid fifty dollars each for transportation and board. From Fall River we went to New York where we met a few Norwegians who helped us to get to Pg 163 Rochester. Here we talked with some of our countrymen who, twelve years ago, had come in the sloop from Stavanger that brought the first Norwegian immigrants to America. Rochester and vicinity did not meet our expectations in regard to the new world. Many of the first immigrants had left the first settlement in Kendall and had gone west to find new lands, particularly to La Salle County, Illinois, near Ottawa on the Fox River. The Fox River colony received a very considerable increment by the great exodus from Stavanger in 1836, that is, the year before I came to America. The most of these immigrants had located in that settlement. This we learned in Rochester, and there we heard for the first time the name Chicago. We determined to go west and see what we could find. When we had reached Detroit, I was walking in the streets to look at the town. There I accidentally met a man by whose clothes I could see that he was from the western coast of Norway. I greeted the man and he returned my greeting, and the meeting was like that of two brothers who had not seen each other for years. He informed me that he had left Bergen some months before, together with about seventy [should be eighty-four] passengers and that the whole company of which the University secretary, Ole Rynning, was the leader, had been waiting a week for transportation to Chicago. We were glad to meet our countrymen and we joined the party, in which there was at least one [Rynning] who could speak English. On landing in Chicago we met Bjorn Anderson Kvelve [the father of the present editor] from the Stavanger company. He had come to America the year before [1836] and had travelled through various parts of Illinois but all that he had heard and seen had only served to make him dissatisfied with this side of the ocean. Broken down in soul and body, he stood before us as a victim of misery and produced a scene so terrible that it never will be blotted from my memory. “God bless and comfort you!” said he. “There is neither work nor land nor food to be had and by all means do not go to Fox River; there you will all die from malarial fever.” These words had a terrible effect on our little flock, many of whom had already lost all courage. Like demons from the lower world, all the evil warnings about the terrors that awaited the emigrants to America were now called to mind and even the bravest were as by magic stricken by a panic which bordered on insanity. The women wrung their hands in despair and uttered terrible shrieks of woe. Some of the men stood immovable like statues with all the marks of frightful despair on their faces, while others made threats against those whom they regarded as the promoters of emigration and the leaders of the party. But in this critical situation Ole Rynning’s greatness appeared. He stood in the midst of the people who were ready for mutiny; he comforted those in despair and gave advice to those who doubted and hesitated and reproved those who were obstinate. He was not in doubt for a moment and his equanimity, courage, and noble self-sacrifice for the weal of others had acquired him influence in the minds of all. The storm abated and the dissatisfaction gave place to a unanimous confidence. A couple of Americans with whom Rynning talked advised him to take the immigrants to Beaver Creek, directly south of Chicago in Iroquois County.

Pg 164 It seems to me that the story told about my father must, to say the least, be overdrawn. The facts as I have them from my mother, from Mons Aadland, and even from Ole Nattestad himself, do not warrant the painting of so weird a picture. All the prose there is in the romance is that my father met these people in Chicago and was unwilling to recommend the Fox River settlement with which he was not pleased, and as he had never seen Iroquois County, he had no share in recommending the immigrants to go to Beaver Creek. His dissatisfaction with the Fox River settlement is further confirmed by the fact that in 1840 he found a new home in Albion, Dane County, Wisconsin. In support of my view, I may here quote the words of Prof. Svein Nilsson in Billed Magazin (1869) where, in alluding to the Beaver Creek settlement he states:

Ole Rynning’s company met Bjorn Anderson Kvelve in Chicago. The unfavorable description he gave of the land both west and north frightened the immigrants from locating in any of the existing Norwegian colonies and this resulted in the founding of the Beaver Creek Settlement whose sad story is well known to the Scandinavian population in the northwest. In this connection bitter reproaches have been directed against Bjorn Anderson Kvelve as being in a great measure to blame for the fatalities of Beaver Creek. But it is usually the case that people like to seek in others the cause of their misfortune. This is true of the individual as well as of corporations and societies and perhaps a little more so in the case of the immigrants visited by adversity. At all events, it is our opinion that we do a justice to the man when we say that the criticism of Bjorn Anderson Kvelve has been too severe, if not utterly unfounded.

Ole Nattestad continues:

In the spring of 1838 my brother, Ansten, went to Norway and I worked by the day in the northern part of Illinois.

The first of July, 1838, I came to my present home in about the middle of the town of Clinton, Rock County, Wisconsin, where I bought land and I am consequently the first Norwegian to settle in this state. So far as known, no other Norwegian had planted his feet on Wisconsin soil before me. For a whole year I saw no countryman but lived alone without friend, family, or companion. Eight Americans had settled in the town before me but they lived about as isolated as I did. I found the soil very fertile and the monotony of the prairie was relieved by small bunches of trees. Deer and other game were abundant. The horrid howl of the prairie wolf disturbed my sleep until habit armed Pg 165 my ears against annoyances of this sort. The following summer [1839] I built a little log hut and in this residence I received in September a number of people from my own parish in Norway. They had come as immigrants with my brother, Ansten. The most of these settled on Jefferson Prairie and in this way the settlement got a large population in a comparatively short time.

In 1840 Ole Nattestad married Lena Hiser who died September 15, 1888. She left seven children, all well educated and in good circumstances. Henry, the youngest son, now occupies the old homestead.

We now pass to Ansten Nattestad, the brother of Ole, and will let him tell the story as published in the Billed Magazin:

In the spring of 1838 I went by way of New Orleans to Liverpool and thence to Norway to visit friends and acquaintances in my native land…. [What he tells about Rynning’s and his brother Ole’s manuscripts has already been stated.] I spent the winter in Numedal. The report of my return spread like wildfire through the land and an incredible number of people came to see me and to get news from America. Many came as far as twenty Norwegian [140 English] miles to have a talk with me. It was impossible to answer all the letters I received asking questions about the condition of things on the other side of the ocean. In the spring of 1839 about 100 persons from Numedal stood ready to go with me across the sea. Among these were many farmers and heads of families, all, excepting the children, able-bodied persons in their best years. Besides these there were a number from Thelemarken and from Numedal who were unable to join me as our ship was full. We went from Drammen direct to New York. It was the first time the inhabitants of Drammen saw an emigrant ship. [The name of the ship was Emelia and the Captain’s name was Ankerson]. Each person paid $33.50 for his passage. We were nine weeks on the sea; the passage was a successful one and there was no death on board. From New York we took the common route up the country. In Milwaukee we met those from Tin and Thelemarken and the others who were unable to come in our ship across the sea. [They had come by way of Gothenborg, Sweden, to Boston.] They came on board to us and wanted us to go with them to Muskego, Wisconsin. Men had been out there to inspect the country and they reported that the grass was so high that it reached up to their shoulders and told of many other glorious things. The Americans, too, used every argument to persuade us to stop in Milwaukee. I objected and we continued our journey. In Chicago I learned that my brother, Ole, had settled in Wisconsin during my absence in Norway. Some of the party went to the Fox River settlement where they had acquaintances, while some unmarried persons found employment in Chicago and vicinity. The rest of them, that is to say, the majority, accompanied me to Jefferson Prairie. Among these were a few who settled in the town of Rock Run, Stevenson Pg 166 County, in the northern part of Illinois about fifty miles southwest from Jefferson Prairie, and there they formed the nucelus of the Norwegian settlement. Others of my company went to Rock Prairie, a few miles west of Jefferson Prairie. I and the rest came at once to Jefferson Prairie where we bought land and began to cultivate it.

In 1840 a few came here from Numedal and from that time the number of settlers steadily increased, chiefly by new arrivals from Norway. The most of those from Numedal settled in the northern part of the colony, for we who came after my brother, who was here before any of us, bought land in the place where he had built his cabin and those from the same part of Norway who came later as immigrants and who sought us out in the far west settled as our neighbors. I and the first Numedalians chose this tract as our home and our choice was made immediately after our arrival. The same autumn, 1839, a company from Voss in Norway came to the settlement. These Vossings went farther south and as “birds of a feather flock together” so their friends from Voss gradually settled with them. Hence the Jefferson Prairie settlement, as to population, may be divided into two districts, of which the northern consists chiefly of Numedalians while the Vossings predominate in the southern part.

In searching for the Nattestad book I learned that Ole Nattestad had preserved a manuscript copy of it and that sometime in the eighties he had handed this to Prof. Peter Hendrickson, then editor-in-chief of Skandinaven in Chicago, with the view of having the manuscript revised and reprinted; but before Professor Hendrickson found time to do this work, his home in Evanston, Illinois, was burned to the ground and in this fire the Nattestad manuscript was lost. Not long since, however, it was shown that the Nattestad book was not a myth. Mr. H. L. Skavlem of Janesville, Wisconsin, is a most patient and thorough student of Norwegian pioneer life in America, and especially of everything pertaining to the people who have emigrated from Numedal. In 1915 he published an account of the “Skavlem and Odegaarden Families in this Country” which is a masterpiece of genealogical records and pioneer history. Mr. Skavlem, beside being an authority on Indian relics and on Wisconsin bird life, has done much to preserve the history of the Norwegians in America. It was he who secured a printed copy of the Nattestad book for preservation in the library of the Pg 167 State Historical Society, so far as known the only copy in existence.


Photographed from the copy in the Wisconsin Historical Library

Of this copy, which is now being printed in an English translation, Mr. Skavlem gives the following account:

In the summer of the year 1900 James and Henry Natesta, the sons of Ole K. Nattestad, the author of the pamphlet, took a short trip to Norway to visit the home of their forefathers, located in Vegli, Numedal. They made diligent inquiries for a pamphlet said to have been published from a manuscript sent to Norway in 1838 by their father. An old gentleman living close by the old homestead told them he had a copy, which they secured and brought back with them to this country. This copy has been in the possession of the Natesta brothers until last January (1916) when it was turned over to me and I handed it over to the State Historical Society.

In regard to the book, or pamphlet, it is to be stated that while Ole Nattestad had learned to write, he was entirely ignorant of Norwegian grammar. Both his orthography and his syntax are very faulty. There are many subordinate clauses with the principal clause left out. The surprising thing is that the printers in Drammen did not make the necessary corrections. I was requested to follow the original as closely as possible, so as to convey to the reader of the translation as complete a presentation of the original as possible. The mistakes in orthography could only be reproduced in the translation where they concerned proper names. The faults in syntax I have generally reproduced. The reader will have to be the judge of how well I have succeeded. The book is of more than ordinary interest from the fact that it contains a description of an emigrant’s journey from Norway to Chicago in 1837, the only description we have of that kind, and also from the fact that it is written by the first immigrant from Norway who set foot on Wisconsin soil.


By Ole Knudsen Nattestad

In the year 1837, the 8th of April, we started from our homestead, the farm Nattestad, in Weglie-Parish, Rolloug Parson’s District, in Nummedal in Norway, for the purpose Pg 168 of trying our fortune in another part of the world, namely in the free states in North America. We journeyed with an agreeable weather till in the evening of the 11th of the same month. That day we came to the farm Flotyl, at the foot of Storfjeldet (Big Mountain). In the morning the weather was tolerably clear. We began to climb the mountain. When we had gone some distance there began a strong storm with snow and wind and it became so dark that we could not see the least from us. As luck would have it, we found a path which had been used with marsh shoes on the horses’ feet over the mountain, and this path we stuck to for the most part, so that we, thanks be to God, made our way safely. We rested a while at Jordbraek, then we went to Roarquam, where we expected to stop over night. As soon as we entered the house there came a man with a boat whose home was 1¾ miles [the Norwegian mile is about seven English miles] farther out on a farm by name Quildal. We were allowed to follow him home without pay. There we stayed one day because Ansteen became so weak in his eyes that he could not see to walk, but after we left this place we, for the most part got transportation to Stavanger. There we got trace of a man by name Elias Tastad, with whom all who wanted to go to America inscribed their names. To the above named E. Tastad we arrived the 17th of April. The man named said that “they who desire to sail to America from Stavanger will not get a ship before after St. Johnstide, and still it was not certain what time it would be. But go to Tenager which lies one mile west from here. There lie herring boats which go to Gothenborg and see that you get passage with one of them,—that is the best.” As we were informed we went to the place mentioned and at once met a man from Kobbervigen, by name Engebret Rise, from whom we got terms and whom we were to go with. It was said that the above named person, E. Tastad, was a Quaker, and he was a particularly kind-hearted man and he gave us advice in many things. The 18th of the same month we went on board and sailed to the harbor Rekfjord; there we lay for 8 days, weather-bound. It is 8 miles north of Lindesnaes. From there we sailed the 28th of the same month. When we came some distance out they had neglected to take water on board. They, therefore, sailed in to Kirkehavn to get water. In the evening when we came out Pg 169 upon the sea again it was perfectly calm and the fog lay so thick that we could not see a single thing. The calm continued until in the afternoon, then we got a little breeze which increased and came from the southeast until it grew into a perfect storm so the waves washed entirely over the ship. That night the storm drove us back to Kirkehavn again. There we lay till the 3rd of May, then we sailed from there with a pleasant wind and clear weather. That day all ships that were there left the harbor, that before had to lie still. Then there were swarms of ships as far as we could see out upon the ocean. Oh, how delightful it was to look into this beautiful weather. The same day we called in Mandal, 3 miles southeast from Lindesnaes; after a few hours we sailed out from there with the same wind and the next morning we got sight of land at Skagen in Jylland (Scaw in Jutland) which is 30 miles from Mandal. The 5th of May we came to Gothenborg. From New Elfsborg’s Fort ½ mile outside of the city came first an officer on board who countersigned our passports and when we came to the custom house wharf the captain went ashore to exhibit our passports there. Afterwards there came officials on board who sealed the cargo of the ship and who also talked with us about our proposed long journey. The next day the captain went about in the city with us and went to the office of Consul Vestberg, who procured passage for passengers and who has information as to whither all ships sail from there. Now, there lay a large ship ready to sail which was loaded with iron which should go to America, and one by name Vigen was the owner of it and one by name Captain Ronneberg was to take it across. Vestberg went at the same time with us to Vigen and talked with him for us. He demanded 200 dollars Rigsgjelds [Swedish money]. That made about 54 speciedaler [Norwegian money]. Now, we were in distress because it was so awfully dear, but our former carrier, named Engebret Rise, persuaded us that we should not refuse it. “Consider,” said he, “that you might lie here a whole month and still perhaps have to pay almost the same.”—We went to Vestberg again and asked if he could not do it cheaper. “I will go with you up there,” said he, “so you get to talk with him.” He went up and said that we asked if he could do it cheaper. He stood a little while. “For 50 speciedaler I will do it and that is the very cheapest. Pg 170 Then you will get on board what you need for sustenance.” We accepted this and Engebret Rise said that we should accept. Now, we had gotten transportation. We then went on board after our baggage and E. Rise accompanied us ashore again to a shoemaker of whom we bought a pair of boots and shoes for each of us, and to one by name Fru Bokkom who had all kinds of clothes for sale. There we bought clothes. She asked if we had gotten lodgings. We answered, “No.” “From me you can get a room alone without pay when you provide yourselves with food and wood and fuel you shall have what you want to cook it with,” said she. We accepted this offer with gratitude and there were very comfortable. On Sunday we went into town and into the Cathedral and heard sermons or mass and there were to be seen many strange things besides the other things which we saw in the city.—On Monday we went on the market to buy us something of this and that. There stood one and beckoned to us. He asked if we were from Norway. “Perhaps you are going over to America,” said he, (and asked) whether we had gotten transportation. We said, “Yes! We have gotten and we are to go with the ship belonging to Vigen”; “how much are you then to pay?” When he got to know this he became violently angry and denounced us as big fools who had paid so much. Had we come to him he would have saved us 20 speciedaler for each of us—this was a Jew who stood and changed money and an awfully ugly person to look at with black hair and beard and indescribably thick and fat. Then he asked us if we had more money to change than what we paid in transportation. Then we must come to him. “You cannot get your money changed anywhere else than with me,” said he, and told us how high the rate was; we would come to him the next day, we said. He said we should go to Vigen and offer him 20 spd each if we could get our money back; “but you will still not get it back for he well knows what he has done.”

We went to Vigen and said that we might have gotten transportation almost 20 spd cheaper if we had waited a little while. “Yes!” said he, “if it is so that you regret what you have done you shall get your money back again, that is the kind of man I am and will not cheat you if you would rather have the money back again”; and then we thought the matter Pg 171 over and let it be just as it had been done. We noticed something, that the Jew wanted to talk to his own advantage. Tuesday morning we were to come to Vestberg to get some money changed. We came at the time appointed, he counted the money and kept it. When he had done this he said we should come back in the afternoon, he did not yet have the kind of money, he first wanted to go out; we were very much astonished at this, I went in again and told what I thought of this, that we had delivered the money and gotten nothing in return. “You must not believe that we are that kind of people,” and then he went away again—we went on the market and there we discovered Vestberg talking with the Jew. We stood looking at this and wondering if it was about our money they were talking, which it also was. When Vestberg went the Jew discovered us and came to us but it was the brother of the one heretofore named. He then told us that Vestberg asked him after the rate of exchange. “Vestberg would get you a note from Vigen that you are to get your money in America, but this you must not do. Go with me and you shall get your money changed.” We answered that we did not have the money in our pockets, but we could come back in a little while. At the time appointed we came into Vestberg again and then the Jew stood inside and argued with the clerk about the changing of our money and that amused us. Then we plainly heard who was our friend, the Jew or Vestberg. The Jew wanted us to exchange our money and Vestberg did not want to give as high a rate as demanded; he said, “if it is no more than a skilling [a penny] they are to have it and now they will make 10½ skillings on every spd when they get their money in America, for on the ocean you need no money,” said Vestberg.

The Jew in his way with a well-nigh matchless eloquence and who thereon was thundering mad at Vestberg because he did not get his way, but it was of no help to him when we learned of the Jew’s speculation for which he fought with us. When the Jew did not succeed he had to go but he stood in the door and scolded them as he also had done before. We got a note each which was printed in the English language which stated how much money we had and how high the exchange rate was and how many piasters we were to have in return; this note was from Vigen, the owner of the ship to Pg 172 the Swedish Consul in America, from whom we were to get the money and we got one (note) which was written and which we were to retain when we delivered the others.

Wednesday morning we went aboard and after that we lived there; Thursday, the 11th we sailed out of the harbor; then there was on board the owner of the ship together with many distinguished men who accompanied it a short distance; when these had gone into the boat and gotten a little distance from the ship there were fired 4 salvos with the big cannons. Afterwards there was shouting of hurrahs, first by those in the boats, afterwards by the ship’s crew. Off New Elfsborg’s Fort, a half mile from the city 4 salvos were also fired and 2 in response by the fort; then we took our leave from the city.

A little story about the ship by name Hilda, on which we were passengers, the most beautiful ship in all Gothenborg, and almost in all Sweden, it was said; it had made a single journey to America before, otherwise it was new and with copper bottom and it was upon the whole as if it were cast (in a mold), it was furnished with 2 decks, a lower deck 3 ells high to the ceiling which (the deck) was painted blue on the sides and up under the upper deck yellow and likewise above the deck and quarter deck 2½ ells high and very tight and strongly made and blue painted; the upper part was upon the whole constructed like a door of glass and painted with yellow brass and the panels blue. Astern stood a cabin on the deck which was polished both externally and internally and also on the lower deck and in both of them as beautiful furniture as can be made. In the front was placed works of sculpture all gilt, likewise in the stern and a maiden carved in wood in the most beautiful draperies and fineries that could be found and as if she were a living being. From Elfsborg, as heretofore mentioned, we sailed with a fair wind to the day of Pentecost, then it became calm and we had reached the Faröe Islands, which lie north of Scotland. The second day of Pentecost there came one from Jutland and wanted to go to the Faröes with 12 men and these came on board and got some water; then we first heard English talked. From there we sailed mostly with good wind but awhile before we came to the New Foundland banks; we saw 5 icebergs (it Pg 173 was pieces or lumps which drift south from the polar ocean), the one was like a large building to look at. Sunday morning, the 4th of June, came we to the banks, this morning there were caught 62 pounds and 10 mkr of codfish. The above named banks are a shallow 80 fathoms deep and a few hundred miles in circumference, which lie about 300 miles from America. There always lie ships which only fish. From there we sailed with a favorable wind; the 11th of June in the morning, 9 o’clock, we first saw land in America and were therefore not more than 32 days from leaving until we came to land. In the evening there came a pilot on board and at 12 o’clock we came into the city Nyport, where we lay at anchor a little while. In the morning when I arose and came upon the deck I saw something new; for the city and also the country around about was delightful for me to see. At 12 o’clock we sailed from there up to Falreva [Fall River] which lies 18 miles northeast from here. Here the ship stopped and the cargo was here sold. On the journey from Nyport to there was many agreeable things to see; the land on both sides was so splendid and particularly the beautiful trees which there here grows a multitude of. As soon as we came to the above named Falreva there came a Norwegian watchmaker apprentice on board who had gotten knowledge of the fact that a Swedish boat had entered and he was from Christiania; it was agreeable to get to talk with our fellow countryman. He informed us concerning many things which were useful to us.—Here in the city we have now gone about and looked at many beautiful curiosities; especially in machine shops and factories of which there here are a great number; among other things we first inspected an iron factory, very strange. What here was used as material was nothing but burnt and rusty iron such as machine scraps, boilers, stove pipes, and other scraps. This was first cut up by a large iron knife which cut it into threads even if it was 2 inches thick. Afterwards it was smelted and cut into strings. These strings were heated one time and with this it went through some rollers 10 to 11 times and became hoop-iron between 1 and 2 inches wide and 15 to 16 ells long and over. These stringers were delivered to another building in which there were 50 work benches. There was made nails of these stringers. The nail was cut from the end of the Pg 174 stringer and this went so fast almost as corn running from a mill and was done by one man. These machines were very strange and many things which I here on account of time and space cannot describe.—The first mate on board told us that he had never seen the equal although he had been in many lands in Europe and in many cities in America.

He said we ought to go there and see, it would be interesting for us; we did not dare to go because we did not know the language and none of the ship’s crew had time to go with us; but the first mate said we might go. “I think you will be allowed to anyway,” and he told us what we should say when we came there.—We went there and asked in English if we could look over the factory; it was permitted. One went with us from one room to another; it lasted fully 2 hours and we did not see anything but new things wherever we came so that for want of space am not able to describe how it was. From the weaving factory the goods came there and the first work there was to bleach it and that went fast, afterwards it was made ready with flowers and colors as it was to be. Yes, here were some ship-loads of cotton cloths with many other things which were here which I cannot describe.—The 17th of May we went from Falreva on a steamboat to Provedens, which is 30 miles. The captain went with us to Provedens and got transportation to New York for us. The steamboat we went from Provedens to New York on was very large. It was certainly 100 ells long, with 2 engines and so many strange appliances which I had never been able to imagine before. There were 10 to 12 black negroes which prepared the food and some carried it to and from the tables. Ah! here was much to see for us. The room which we were best able to examine was certainly of 30 ells length and two dining tables which were loaded with dishes and drinking cups as close together as possible and all of porcelain stoneware and the glasses looked like crystal; but all who ate there I have not the number of; on both sides in this room was bed after bed [sofas]; curtains and sheets which we saw there were of the choicest calico and some looked like silk. The carpets looked like the finest camel’s hair cloth and many other things which I cannot here describe.—This journey from Provedens to New York was 230 miles and we were 12 hours on the way; Pg 175 now we were among foreign nations and did not understand their language the least. When we came to New York it became worse as we had to go ashore; there came many who talked to us but we didn’t understand them and no more they us; but I suppose they asked us where we were going; at last there came one on board who talked to us; when he heard that we did not understand he said that we should go with him. I went with him, he went into a little store; there was a French man who was to talk to me and asked if I was from France; I said I was Norwegian. He went away from me. Then there came one that so far as I could understand was from the region near France. He asked me where I was from, I answered from Norwegian, this he understood and said, “that is far away”; then I was to stop there while one went out on the street; he soon came back again and had with him a person who could talk a little Norwegian and would come with me on board; when we got on the way he told me that he was Swedish and Norwegian Consul. From the boat we took our baggage and went with this man to a basement which was a boarding house and there this consul had his home and there we should stay and he should advise us and get transportation to Rochester. When we came into the city we saw a Norwegian flag on a ship and some Swedish (flags); now my comrades went to see if they could find these ships; they met first a Swede and afterwards a Norwegian who was from Arendal and had come from England with 140 passengers; when they had talked with these they came to me again who was sitting inside and keeping watch over the baggage, now went I and my brother out for I had letters from our first mate which were addressed to a Swedish ship which lay in the harbor there and was the same one which they had been aboard and so I got the letters properly presented. When we came to the Norwegian ship again there came on board a shoemaker from Bergen who had come to America a year before and had come with one from Christiansand by name Jansen who was married and who was a merchant; when we came to talk with them the merchant said we should get lodgings at his home. We first went with him to his house. He immediately went to the place where Pg 176 we had our baggage; when we got there the house was so full of people that we hardly could get in.

Jansen who was with us asked the host whether our baggage might remain there until in the morning for it was so near the river and this was permitted. In the morning, namely Monday, Jansen went with us to secure transportation to Rochester. A lieutenant from Gothenborg told me that the year before he had talked with many Norwegians nor did Jansen know where the Norwegians had located up through the country, but he knew they had gone that way. Now we went to the office and Jansen secured transportation for us to the above Rochester, he then went with us to the house where the baggage was and got it brought to the office about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, when the steamer was to leave; afterwards he went with us to some money changers to get our money changed into silver for the Swedish Consul from whom we were to have our money in Falreva as above stated, he cheated us a little; we should have had silver and got nothing else than paper money and these we had to have changed again for they would not be accepted up in the country. I will state that there are many difficulties with money here; there is an innumerable number of banks and the money isn’t passed more than in the bank’s district; some of these (banks) are weak so that it is difficult to receive money with which one is not acquainted; all paper passes for the same as silver but people very much prefer silver. Jansen and the other Norwegians we met frightened us very much and said we must not go farther before we changed our money to silver and so said Jansen went with us to get our money changed. We came in to one and Jansen asked him how much he took in percentage. He wanted 18 per cent and Jansen said we should take silver. He changed 40 spd in silver and the rest in pamper which I had to give 2 per cent for and when we considered the matter all this was to no use for there would be banks and exchange houses wherever we happened to stop; but this I could not think of until it was too late but Ansteen didn’t change his money but it was Jansen’s fault that I gave this money in exchange. We went to another broker and asked him how much he wanted in exchange. He said 12 per cent; then I found out how I had Pg 177 exchanged my money, and for paper money he didn’t take any per cent. Ansteen exchanged his money for paper but didn’t take any silver.

Now I must write something about New York City, but which is almost indescribable. Jansen went with us in many streets to show us some of the splendid things in the city. All the streets in which we walked were nothing but stores right through the buildings, yes, so large that we could not see the end of them and was packed as closely as possible with all kinds of goods. Yes, likewise on the streets and buildings were all kinds of clothing, besides drawings and pictures of men, horses, and all kinds of animals in their full shape so we did not know but that they were alive; and the buildings were 5 and 6 stories high. But navigation was still more to be looked at with all the ships that lay here which I guarantee were in the thousands and an immense number so large that the largest I have seen in Norway were almost like yachts in comparison with these and they looked as if they were cast in a mold. Likewise were steamboats of which there surely were hundreds here and many which went only across the river with passengers so that one could go to the wharf whenever he pleased and there stood passage ready. In the city was also a street which stood full the whole day with horses and wagons only to be hired by anybody that wanted them. I will also tell how it was with passage on the steamboat. Here there is no question about getting passage but who ever wants to can get his baggage and go on board and not speak to anybody. This one can do no matter what country he is from; for there is never a question about passports and the pay is collected on board and tickets given until one goes ashore which are then to be returned. Monday, the 19th of June, 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we went on board the steamboat in New York for Albany which is 161 miles and arrived there in the morning; there we did not understand a single person nor did we meet anybody that we could talk with. When we were to go ashore there we did not know where we were to go; but we had a ticket from the office in New York that we were to have free passage to Rochester, this we exhibited and were instructed accordingly. There came a man with horse and cart on which we were to place our baggage; he drove us to Pg 178 an office and said we should stop until the office was opened and then we should show our tickets, that we understood. Soon the office was open and we went in with our tickets which they took and kept and wrote one for us instead. I asked the office man what time the boat would go again; but although each one of us spoke his own tongue, I could understand that it was not to go before in the afternoon. Now we walked about in the city to see the sights and there we saw many strange things; among other things we saw a great tower which looked as if it were made of pure gold and we saw the glitter of this tower out on the river before we came to the city. We went to this tower to look at it; when we came near to it we could see that it was plated with brass but this must have been gilt otherwise it would fade. A somewhat smaller tower glittered like silver plated with tin; likewise I have in America in several cities seen many houses with roofs of tin. Here we also were permitted to examine the house where the steam cars are kept. From there we saw that they drove the cars with horses and 2 cars for each horse until they came some distance from the city where the engine itself received them and which hauled 20 cars at a time, even if all were filled with freight. This railroad went over the Philadelphia but the length of it I do not know.—Now I am going to report something that I have neglected, namely: when we had come on board the steamboat in Provedens, and just as we left the shore we saw an engine go from the carhouse and draw 10 cars with it and all were filled with people; this we stood on the deck and saw; it went to the city of Boston.

In the afternoon we went on board on the canal boat here in Albany. These boats are all the same size. They are about 30 ells long and 5 ells wide with room for freight in the center and a cabin in each end with costly curtains in the windows and painted floor with carpets on; the other furniture in the rooms were for the most part polished.

At the first start of the canal boat they pushed this forward with poles a little ways up the locks, that is, a dam which the boat went up; above the lock there was built a large dam in which the boat was turned around and under a house. Now one of the locks was closed and the water tapped off Pg 179 so that the boat stood dry on some beams; there was an arrangement whereby the boat was weighed with the cargo in, excepting the people that went ashore; when this was done the lock was opened and the boat floated and went back. From there it was taken with 2 horses and hauled all the way to Buffalo. With wonderment we looked at the works on this canal especially the locks which were 85 in number and between 5 and 6 ells high and all of cut marble, and a large part of the finest white marble. Along the canal there is an immense number of cities which are lately founded; but I do not know the name of them because I did not understand English. With wonderment we saw near a little town a large steep hill which was covered with railroads for steam cars. Yes, there went one railroad which could not escape this hill and there for the first time we saw many cars hooked together which came down the hill without both horses and engines, that we could see; when they came down they were taken with horses; likewise when the horses came to the hill from below with the car many were hooked together and went up the hill of their own accord.

Erik Hougen, from Thiin, stated that he took a ride on a steam car from Albany, a distance upward which hauled 18 cars full of people; but when they came to such a hill he said, the engine let go of them and the other cars went down the hill by themselves; in the middle of the hill they met a car with an awfully large load of stones which went up on the other track. I did not see any engine that pulled but by the side of the load was a big iron beam which went on cushions. This was probably the machine. Perhaps this was in the same hill on which we saw the cars go.

In Rochester we had heard it said that there were Norwegians there; thither we came one morning early and went ashore and looked about in the city. Ansteen now met a man that had arrived a year before; this man was going to work so he did not get to talk much with him; he directed us to where we might meet one who had been there a few years but him we did not meet. While we went there and waited we met a man by a bridge who was from Faaloino in Stavanger County and had come over the year before. He told us where the Norwegians had located in the west, namely, Pg 180 in the State of Illinois, which was over 1000 miles from Buffalo. He told us that the Norwegians who had come to Illinois had written to them how it was there, that a plain laborer could get from 1 to 1½ dollars per day and afterwards about the tradesmen, how much they could get according to their kind; he said, “if you have so much money that you can get there, you should not stop before you get there; if I had so much money I would go tomorrow,” said he. He went with us into a merchant he was acquainted with and asked if our money was good enough; but he said that it did not pass in Illinois and if they desired would exchange it without any per cent. That was very good for there we got Illinois money; yes, we got some silver too in place of paper.—The above mentioned man told us that the canal was damaged and that we must not make contract with the captain farther than there for the time being. Now, we parted with pleasure from this man and betook us on the journey to Buffalo, which is 100 miles from Rochester.

When we came to the break in the canal referred to above we got on to another boat; a lot of people came on board which were from Bavaria in Germany, and some French; there was certainly 100 of them and all were peasants; and all their male persons had blue linen shirts outside of their clothes with large pockets on them which hung outside and many wore caps which fitted close to the head.—These people all had to be in the freight room; but we were allowed to be in the front room with some Scotchmen with whom we were in company from Albany; these were mostly young people of both sexes but very good-natured and jolly with singing and other entertainment; we got so acquainted with these as if we were the best friends at home, but we did not understand each others’ talk. When we came to Buffalo, which is the end of the canal, we had to go from there on steamboat to Detroit; from Buffalo the Scotchmen secured passage for us just as for themselves but some of them parted with us there.—In Buffalo we first saw Indians; that is, the original Americans who live about like the Lapps in Norway and subsist on hunting and without houses; but have tents which they move from one place to another. Those we saw there we could notice were women; we came first into a merchant Pg 181 where one stood and talked with him; when she went out we asked him what kind of a person that was; he answered it was an Indian; but we did not yet understand what that meant.—Their clothes consist of trousers on each hip which extend from the upper part of the hip with a belt around the waist and a strap from the trouser hips up to it besides a shirt above which extends down to the hip, that is the underwear; outside they have a sort of blanket which consists of white, blue, and colored stripes which they hang over the head and which reaches down on the legs and this they hold around themselves with their hands; on their feet they have shoes of skin which are fitted tight to the feet and no socks but the women have the most beautiful etchings outside of their trousers and some of them wear much of gold and silver ornaments.

Now we went on the steamboat in company with these Scotchmen in Buffalo which went to Detroit over the Erie Lake which is a fresh water and which is so large that we could not see land only on one side; but when we came to Detroit we did not know where to go; but 2 carpenters of these Scotchmen said that they were going to Schicago, the same place as we were going to. We went with them to the boarding house; I at once went out and down on the wharf to look around; on the street I met one of the Norwegians who had gone out from Bergen the 7th of April this year. When I came to talk with him he related that there were about 80 persons in the company who were bound for Schicago and they had been staying here for 5 days and had not got passage but after 2 days they were to get passage. Now we took leave of these Scotchmen and went to our fellow countrymen with whom we have kept company from that time on. In Detroit we had to pay 10 dollars apiece to Schicago, which is 700 miles, which also was fresh water. On this steamboat were such a great number of passengers that we could hardly sit down. The sailors and others were so thievish that we could scarcely keep our baggage; yes, a part of it they took from us.

They went into a city to take wood (fuel), the name of it I do not remember but there was a fort. Here we got to see plenty of Indians; when we got ashore there was on Pg 182 the pier a whole lot of Indians. Among them was one who was said to be captain who was very grand in clothes and a big silver ring in the nose, which was fastened to the middle wing of the nose. In the ears there was a sheaf of silver blocks and they had silk bands in the ears in which these ornaments were hung; yes, many more had such things. One had 3 tassels in the ear and 30 of the above blocks in each tassel but there was only one with a ring in the nose. At the knees they had wound pretty bands that were embroidered with small beads and were very pretty and a whole tassel that hung down to the foot which was embroidered with beads; that is the costume of the menfolks. Some of the women had gold rings on the fingers almost as many as they had room for. On one we counted them and she had 44 gold rings on her hands. Another had covered the breasts and over the shoulder with smooth silver brooches as closely as possible. Their complexion is for the most part soot-brown or brown-black with broad faces, without beard and long black hair. Some of them had painted themselves with red, blue, and black stripes across the faces, which was to mean that they would be manly in strife if anybody attacked them. These people are very curious to look at, still they look fierce; but they are said to be very good-natured and a separate language they have. After we entered the city called Gronbay (Green Bay), there were also some Indians. There lay a garrison of warriors, which they said was to be for the Indians if they should break in and make an attack. In this garrison they wanted more men which they enlisted for 3 years and would give 50 dollars in enlistment money and then 6 dollars a month and free board and clothing and not much drill but good learning do they get there. On a Sunday we came to Schicago; when we came ashore there came Norwegians to talk with us but the most of them talked unfavorably of the condition there. Some of the Norwegians, especially the women, let themselves be frightened; but when we had made some investigation it was not true. Many got into great distress when they heard that there was not free land to be had. Yes, a Norwegian from Stavanger County had lately been up in the country but could not hear of any, he said and insisted that it was much worse than in Norway, but he was a big talker and probably also a big liar.

Pg 183 When we had remained here in the city a couple of days we learned that 50 miles south from here there was free land. Now, it was resolved that some men should go there and examine and the others should remain in the city and that everyone that wanted land should help pay for this journey, whereupon one was hired to take them with team. Those that were chosen to go was Candidate Rynning, from Sneaasen, near Tronhjem, 2 men from Bergen’s Stift and I. When we came there we found that the land was poor but it was resolved that we should remain there. Now, 2 men were to stay to build a shanty to live in when the people got there and the lot fell to me and one from Etne Sogn.—When the people got there we got much abuse because the land was not good but when we had hunted a few days all were satisfied except those who never can be satisfied. The most of us located near a creek which is called Baeverkrek (Beaver Creek) and there we took a piece of land each and are now very well contented therewith if we are able to keep it and pay for it. Here the land is so free that whatever nation that comes can locate without asking anybody’s leave until the land becomes sold and that is determined by the government; but here there is much trading among people with free land. Here we have now been 2 months and built a fine house with rooms in and now we are going away to learn the language and to get some work whereby we can earn money. Halsteen Flose separated from us in Schicago and went in company with several westward in Illinois to get work; we soon got the report from them that they all got work and earned 1½ dollars a day besides free keep.—On our journey we have been in intercourse with people almost from all European lands, yes, original Americans and negroes. I have heard that these people have many different religious sects but one cannot see any great difference in their manner of living for they are polite and friendly toward each other. But among the people which I have seen that from the first I saw them seemed to be so horrible; they are the black negroes with wool-curly hair and I had no desire to look at them. But when I now for some time had been in intercourse with them I thought they were the most lovable and jolly people I ever have seen; wherever I see them they are all equally jolly, Pg 184 good-natured and polite, so that I do not think anybody equal to them in manners. The Indians on the other hand are the most horrible people I have seen.

Among other stories I will also report that first mate Malgren from Gothenborg told me of some curious things which he had seen in Philadelphia. There was namely a fountain which was built and taken out 6 English miles above the city and there it was pumped 600 feet high from the river which was done with an engine so light that one man could operate it up to 2 large dams which contained an immense quantity of water. From there it went in iron pipes down to the city where it was distributed in all streets so that they had spring water nearly in every house; yes, it went up in the 4th and 5th stories in the houses. At all corners and single streets there were large fountains and hydrants where they put on the water hose when fire breaks out in the city. There are certainly 60 of that kind of hose which were of bright brass as well polished that one could hardly look at them on account of the brilliancy. He said they were indescribably good and that they never could burn more than one house, no matter how fierce the fire had broke out for these hose struck nearly through the houses, such force had they.

The above mentioned canal, namely from Albany to Buffalo, I have now gotten knowledge of that it was first planned and begun to be worked on in the year 1817 and in 1827 it was ready to be traveled on in a distance of 60 Norwegian miles and cost 9 millions.

In the year 1836 work was begun on a canal which is to go from Schicago to the Mississippi River and which will be 150 miles, that is 26 Norwegian miles. When this is finished one will be able to go by water from New York to New Orleans which is 3500 English miles, whereby one passes, rivers, canals, and fresh water. Likewise there are built tracks for steam cars from Philadelphia nearly to Schicago. Next summer there is to be built a railroad which is to go from the one that comes from Philadelphia to Vaabais [Wabash], a river which empties into the Mississippi and of this railway it is said that it shall go across the Mississippi and clear across America even to the Pacific Ocean. Here we may see there are good institutions and as land becomes settled it becomes Pg 185 supplied with canals and railroads everywhere, so that like a bird one can travel both by land and by water.

In regard to religious sects there are great diversity and I have as yet but little understanding of their teachings; but so far as I understand they nearly all believe in one single, true God, and it looks as if the government took much interest in a good religion. I have examined many school books and so far as I understand, the principles are the same as in Norway. There have been inserted in the newspapers many examples as warnings for the people that they ought to live righteously and pleasing to God. Yes, also in the almanac these things are inserted, yes, and everywhere are many warnings in regard to drunkenness and it is the greatest foolishness that a man does to drink liquor, which it certainly also is. In Norway people are urged and forced to drink liquor but so it is not here, for here the people are induced by warnings to moderation; and when a man accepts these warnings and reports it to his friends who also will be the same, namely never either drink or treat liquor, and thereby can many and large societies be freed from this vice.

A short story of the formation of the country.

When one goes from New York up through the country, it is a perfectly dry, stony field, but quite well wooded and the soil becomes better and better and everywhere fruitful. In the State of New York it is quite mountainous in some places but in the State of Michigan it is flat and level, besides wooded everywhere until one reaches the State of Illinois. Here the land looks like the ocean after a storm when the huge billows are rolling. Here there is timber enough some places, as along rivers and other places; other places timber stands in thick groves where people have settled. For the rest there are only rolling plains which are called prairies and these are everywhere overgrown with grass and are for the most part as the best cultivated farms in Norway. These prairies one can plow and seed with what you please which there grows abundantly without being fertilized. Here the best timber land has been taken, but it pays well to till the soil here, that I can see. The man that I now have been with and worked for, has 160 acres land fenced in and from this piece certainly has a crop for over 3000 dollars, although certainly 40 acres are not seeded; they have little Pg 186 work with planting. 160 acres costs 200 dollars to buy but it costs more to get it fenced in. The size of one acre is 208 feet on each side.

Mr. Bekvald, the man I have been with this winter, told me that if one goes from east to west one always has the best land before him. Hitherto the people have moved east, namely to here; but now they are moving from here more and more to the west where it is also said to be better, although here it looks like being the best land that anyone can desire; but I also have in my mind to go more to the west to look for land.

I will also relate that I have been with a man and worked this winter from the 14th of October to the present day and I have earned 50 dollars in a period of 4 months, in spite of the fact that I did not know the language the least when I came there. Some said to me that I did work for 20 dollars a month. I have done heavy work and the same man has offered me 190 dollars for a year and the best keep that any official can get in Norway. It is my opinion that everyone who has his youth and is unmarried certainly can make up his mind in regard to the journey; but one must consider that he is leaving his home and his relatives and friends. I have heard many, especially among the women, say that if they have ever so good days, they are homesick for Norway. Everyone that starts on the journey must consider that one must first taste sour before he can drink sweet. It is difficult here when one does not understand the language and it is worse when he is unable to work.

I will also report how big day’s wages the workingman gets here. A laborer can get from 12 to 16 dollars a month in the winter and in the summer nearly the double. The price is some places more and some places less. A girl can get from 1 to 2 dollars a week as soon as they have some knowledge of the language.

Baeverkrek in Illinois, the 21st of February, 1838.
Ole Knudsen Nattestad.

Postscript: More have I not time to write this time; but this description of travel I send home to you, my relatives and friends! if you have desire to read herein about what I on my long journey have experienced and seen since I was at home with you.

Pg 187



Every twenty-five years, on the average, the American nation has waged war with an important civilized power. Again, as on previous occasions we find ourselves involved in a great struggle, on the outcome of which our existence as an independent nation probably depends, with practically no preparation having been made in advance to meet the issue. Not to go further back than 1914, for three years the nation gamboled on the brink of war, making practically no effort to prepare for the struggle the imminence of which was apparent to every reasoning person. As we write these lines the daily paper brings to our desk a story from the Secretary of War, intended to be thrilling, of how, after war was declared, an airplane engine was devised for adoption by our government. America was the original home of the aeroplane, yet we began the present war as little equipped, to all practical purposes, to wage it in the air as were our forefathers of 1776.

This is but typical of our situation as a whole. When war was declared we had ample potential resources in men, material, and initiative, but we had no army and only an inadequate navy; and while these are being evolved at a prodigious expenditure of labor and money, the enemy is kept from our gates by virtue of no foresight of ours, but rather by the good fortune which has given us powerful allies whose armies and navies are fighting in our behalf.


Thus has it ever been when America went to war. The pages of our history teem with disasters for which our happy-go-lucky attitude toward all things military is responsible. Curiously enough, in the very face of such a record, flourishes Pg 188 a popular conviction that the history of our warfare is one of triumph succeeding triumph with monotonous regularity; and that with respect to our armies, if in no other thing, America has far excelled the other peoples of the earth. That this is all a ghastly illusion any one who has access to a respectable library can quickly satisfy himself. The simple truth is that our past military record has been far from extraordinary; that Americans considered as individuals are no braver than other people; and that when these individuals are associated in armies they require much the same degree of organization, equipment, and leadership as other armies do, if the record they make is to constitute pleasant reading for the nation that sends them forth to war.

It behooves us to note in this connection that no other type of human activity calls for so high a degree of organization and discipline as does the waging of civilized war; and further, that as a consequence of the industrial development of the last century the handicap of a nation which is unprepared to defend itself, in a contest with one which has thus prepared, is vastly greater than ever before. The ancient Gauls and Germans were able to wage a respectable fight against so mighty a military machine as the legions of Julius Caesar, and on one notable occasion, a few years later, a great imperial army was utterly destroyed by the forest barbarians. In modern times the small armies of England have marched at will over Africa, and the fanatic bravery of the tribesmen has led to no other result than their more certain and speedy slaughter at the hands of their civilized foemen. Returning to our own history, the American militiaman of Revolutionary days was no match for the British regular; and, popular belief to the contrary, the naval War of 1812 was not won by America. Even were the contrary the case, however, it would avail us nothing at the present time, for the art of warfare and the circumstances of human life have alike undergone a complete revolution during the last hundred years. Mr. Bryan’s fanciful vision of a million men springing to arms at the first note of danger is but an empty myth, but unfortunately it is by no means a harmless one. The nation which neglects to set its defenses in order in advance of the emergency is, under modern conditions, doomed to defeat before war shall have been declared.


But what avail, it may be asked, is it to dwell upon our past military mistakes? None, certainly, unless we are capable as a people of profiting by the school of experience. Thus far, in the matter under discussion, our national good luck, inducing, as it has done, a quite unwarranted feeling of security, has prevented us from doing so. That we are permanently incapacitated from guiding our feet by the lamp of experience, however, the writer at least does not believe. To a limited extent, indeed, in the conduct of the present war, we have already evinced a willingness to avoid repeating our past mistakes. The question of preparation in advance of the conflict aside, the preliminary stage of the current war has been waged in materially better fashion than has that of any of our previous wars. In particular the principle of universal liability to service has been adopted and an earnest effort has been made to provide as officers, men who combine with a high degree of natural capacity at least a modicum of training for the work intrusted to their charge.

These things are well enough in their way, and encouraging as indicative of the development of a more intelligent attitude on the part of our people toward the conduct of the military arm of the government. No longer, apparently, can a runaway boy of sixteen convince a secretary of war, as in the old days, that his desire for a commission in the army entitles him to precedence over graduates of West Point; nor will we again witness the spectacle of our president appointing all the officers of a newly-created military unit direct from civil life on the ground that the country “generally expected” our trained soldiers should thus be ignored. However gratifying this may be, the nub of the present situation lies in the fact that whatever has been done thus far has been with a view solely to meeting a present emergency. The country has not determined upon, and the government has not adopted any permanent or general policy. Sooner or Pg 190 later the present war will end. Shall we then, as in 1815 and 1865, disband our military force and have recourse once more to the old policy of trusting to Providence for the protection of our liberty and our existence as a nation? Or shall we now highly resolve that the destinies of the American people are too precious, that the success of our great experiment in democracy is charged with too much importance, not alone to ourselves but to the remainder of mankind as well, to justify us in leaving it absolutely unprotected in a world of potential enemies? What would be thought today of a city which should maintain no police department, and for protection against fire should depend upon the unorganized efforts of volunteers? Scarcely two centuries ago, however, even the chief city of the world had no police department, while within the memory of men now living our cities depended upon volunteers for protection against fire.

In these matters the obvious lesson of experience has been thoroughly learned. Professional police and fire departments are the standing armies of our cities, highly organized and constantly alert to protect them from the perils of disorder and fire. The American people will not permanently be content to display a lower order of intelligence in national affairs than it does in those of merely municipal concern. Too long, however, have we confided the protection of our national existence to Providence. We believe it to be the duty of every citizen to exert the full measure of his influence upon his governmental representatives to the end that now, before national disaster shall have overtaken us, a permanent military policy adequate to our protection be adopted.


The September number of the Magazine contained news of the bequest to the Society by Miss Genevieve Mills of Madison of her interest in the parental homestead. We return to the subject now for a twofold reason. In the first Pg 191 place it is proper to render adequate formal acknowledgment of the fine gift made by Miss Mills to the Society. Of vain or ill-advised memorials to the departed, America affords numerous examples; the wisdom and appropriateness of Miss Mills’s memorial to her parents appears, by contrast with some of these, all the more obvious. Money which might have gone to the building of a useless pile of granite has been devoted to the perpetual enrichment of the commonwealth, to the upbuilding of which Simeon and Maria Mills dedicated their lives. To illustrate concretely the work which the Mills bequest will perform, the annual income from the estimated value of the estate will suffice to pay the entire cost of publication of this magazine; or it will print annually such a volume as those included in the Collections of the Society. If the cost of authorship as well as printing be charged against the fund, it will suffice to produce a volume of our Collections every two or three years. And this work, without exhausting the principal of the fund, is to go on perpetually.

If the present world war has taught any lesson, it is that of the value to a nation of its civic and patriotic ideals. But these cannot be cultivated unless due regard be paid to the preservation and study of the country’s historical records. Thus Miss Mills’s bequest constitutes a permanent factor making for the development of patriotism in our commonwealth. Well would it be if all givers of funds for a public purpose should display equal wisdom. At the present time, we understand, the Norwegians of Wisconsin are contemplating the erection of an expensive memorial to Colonel Heg of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Infantry, the famed Norwegian regiment. That Colonel Heg richly deserves a suitable memorial no one will be disposed to dispute. The establishment of a perpetual fund, the income of which should be devoted to the study of the Norwegian contribution to Wisconsin and American history, would constitute, we respectfully suggest, a more useful and suitable memorial to Colonel Heg than any bronze or granite pile, however costly it may be.


He slipped into the office with a quiet apology for the intrusion, to say that he had enlisted in the naval reserve. Not expecting to be called for a month or more, the call to service had come immediately. His only concern over this was due to the fact that he must leave the Library on such short notice, and he was distressed to think that his leaving thus might inconvenience those who remained behind. Two years ago he had entered our employ, in the hope that proximity to the University would render it possible, while earning his living, to take part-time work on the hill. So thorough was his industry that before long, aside from his full-time employment (with service faithfully rendered), he was carrying two-thirds of normal undergraduate work. How he carried it is indicated by the fact that, though preparing himself for an engineer, he was prevented from winning the annual prize for excellence in English composition only by virtue of the limitation of the award to students doing full-time work.

Thus the Library lost a faithful worker; thus the nation gained an excellent soldier. Of such stuff are the men of our new army made. Unless we mistake greatly, the German nation will live to rue the course by which its government goaded the American people to the point of taking active part in settling the great question whether autocracy or democracy shall perish. Quietly and without heroics our splendid youth have appraised the situation, and having appraised it, with a smile have offered themselves and their hopeful futures upon the altar of human freedom, only regretting as did our particular hero, the inconvenience to others which their sacrifice may involve. We will not offend his modesty by placing his name in type. To him and all his kind we offer a reverent Godspeed. The nobility of their offering is inspiring enough; that it should have been necessary in the full light of the twentieth century is one of the ghastliest facts in human history.

Pg 193


The Wisconsin Historical Library has long maintained a bureau of historical information for the benefit of those who care to avail themselves of the service it offers. In “The Question Box” will be printed from time to time such queries, with the answers made to them, as possess sufficient general interest to render their publication worth while.


I have received the Wisconsin History Bulletin[95] for August. It would be interesting to know just how much money Daniel Webster gave for lots in Madison, for lands throughout this state and Iowa, for capital stock in the railway company from LaFontaine and what the evidence of such payment is. Not that I am disposed to charge the godlike Daniel with graft, at least no more than his associates and compeers were chargeable with at that period.

W. A. P. Morris,
Madison, Wisconsin.

So far as we can ascertain, Webster’s investments, or speculations, in Wisconsin property were perfectly legitimate and not influenced by political considerations. In his own account thereof, after saying that he wished to resign, and was not permitted to do so, he says: “So, seei’g, then, that I must do something with a view to future means of liv’g I entered on Western investments, partly in company with Col. Perkins, partly in a company of which Gov. Cass was Chief, and partly on my own account. These investments were made by faithful & careful agents, principally in agricultural lands of excellent quality, in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, & Wisconsin. Prospects of profit seemed fair, at the time, & I purchased as far as means & credit would go.”

George Wallace Jones, in his Autobiography, tells of walking along a street in Washington soon lafter the erection of Wisconsin Territory, of which he was congressional delegate. Webster overtook Pg 194 him, invited him to his house, and entered into conversation with him on the subject of investments. Jones became one of Webster’s agents. In cooperation with Webster he made about $20,000 and Webster sold his holdings to the United States bank of Philadelphia for $50,000. Jones states that Webster owed him $15,000 when he died, but as he had made a good thing by him, he never pressed the debt.

With regard to the Madison investment, the amount should be $3,000 and not $5,000 (this was a typographical error). In the biography of Jones is a reference to a letter dated December 24, 1836 from Judge Doty speaking of the association of proprietors for Madison and stating that these were twenty-four in number, each of whom paid in $100. By February, 1837, the dividends on the sales were $170 a share. On the strength of this showing, Jones sold his share to Webster for “about $3,000.”

The only thing that looks like political influence is in connection with the entries of mineral lands in southwestern Wisconsin. Moses M. Strong, whose papers are in the Society’s possession, came to Wisconsin in 1836 as the agent of Hon. Henry Hubbard, United States senator from New Hampshire, and made large investments for him and some of his friends. Part of the entries made by Strong for Hubbard were upon reserved mineral lands, which were not open to general entry, but were leased by the government. Hubbard tried to get some decision, the precise nature of which is not evident, from the United States land commissioner, concerning these mineral lands, and in the course of his correspondence with Strong he mentions Webster’s name, and says he will see the commissioner. There is no evidence that this was in any way an improper proceeding or influence.

As George W. Jones was Webster’s agent in southwestern Wisconsin, Morgan L. Martin seems to have been his agent in the eastern part of the state. In the early part of 1837 Martin went east to be married and incidentally arranged what business he could. In New York he met Webster and interested him in the lands along Fox River and upon Lake Winnebago, describing the projected railroad from La Fontaine, a “paper” city on Fox River, to Winnebago City, another of like importance on the northeastern shore of Lake Winnebago. This railroad, if built, would have been Pg 195 thirteen miles in length, and was planned to transport freight around the Winnebago Rapids at what is now Neenah. This La Fontaine Railroad Company was the first in the Territory to secure a charter, which was granted by the legislature at Belmont, December 3, 1836. Martin succeeded in firing the imagination of Webster by his description of the importance of the Fox-Wisconsin waterway, and March 24, 1837, Webster wrote him from New York to invest $5,000 in the stock of the railroad (Wisconsin Mss. 5C83). June 28, 1837 Martin replied (Ibid, 110) saying that the capital stock was $50,000 “of which we do not think it necessary to call in over one-half. Doty took 20. I put you down for 10 & took the balance myself. I conceived you would prefer that amount since it would only require to be paid the sum for which you authorize me to draw on you.” Martin goes on to discuss the liberal terms of the charter, which they were planning to have amended by still more liberal provisions at the next legislature. He discusses land grants along the right of way. The engineer they expect has not yet arrived. He closes with a cordial invitation to Webster to visit Green Bay and be his guest.

The negotiation seems to have ended at this point. The panic of 1837 came on and Martin was badly hampered by his connections with the bank of Green Bay and by his large speculative enterprises. No action was ever taken on the railway charter, and in all probability Webster was never called upon for his subscription to the company’s stock.

[95] This contained a short article on “Daniel Webster a Wisconsin Investor.”


We would appreciate it if you would let us know where we can get some information relative to the early history of Wisconsin, especially that part of the state through which the Chippewa River flows. We would like to get the names of some early explorers and Indian chiefs that make a part of the history of Sawyer County. Or, could you give us a number of names that you think would be typical of the region referred to that would make a good name for a small village?

Wisconsin Colonization Company,
Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

We have looked somewhat into the matter suggested in your letter of May 17 and have the following suggestions to make in connection with it.

Pg 196 First, since Sawyer County is drained by the Chippewa River, and since the first person of the English race who is known to have visited that region was the famous traveler, Jonathan Carver, the name Carver would seem to be an appropriate one for the village you have in mind.

Second, the first resident fur traders of Sawyer County were the Warren brothers and John Baptiste Corbin. Either Warren or Corbin would seem to us to make a good name for the town. Either name would also be easy to spell and sufficiently euphonious.

Third, if an Indian name is desired, the first important Chippewa chief of this region was Sha-da-wish. Among his descendants were Ka-ka-ke, Labudee, Mon-so-ne, and Ke-dug-a-be-shew. The last two names mentioned mean respectively moose tail and spotted lynx.


Can you give me any information concerning the origin and historical significance of the name “Winnequah,” applied to the point projecting into Lake Monona?

Frederick Brandenburg,
Madison, Wisconsin.

The site of Winnequah was originally known as Strawberry Point, Squaw Point, Old Indian Garden, and Wood’s Point. It was the village home for the Lake Monona Winnebago, and when Madison was first built it was occupied by Abraham Wood, who had a Winnebago chief’s daughter for his squaw. She was one of the illustrious family of Decorah, and her father was chief of the band in the vicinity of Portage. In 1835 William B. Long and Abraham Wood entered the fifty-two acres of the point in the Mineral Point land office, and three years later, March 24, 1838, transferred their interest to Col. William B. Slaughter. After this transaction Wood moved to Poynette. Slaughter kept the land as an investment. Thomas B. Sutherland, one of the founders of the State Historical Society, was wont to relate his experiences as surveyor in 1835 when he spent some time at the Indian village at Strawberry Point. The name “Winnequah” was bestowed upon the point some time in the late sixties by Capt. Francis (Frank) Barnes who ran a steamboat line on Lake Monona. Barnes had a fancy for odd names; one of his boats was named the “Scutanaubequon.” He built a dancing hall on the point and fitted Pg 197 it up for picnic parties and seems to have invented the word “Winnequah.” At least, its meaning is not to be found among the Winnebago vocabularies, nor is it susceptible of any interpretation except that it is made up of Winnebago Squaw Point. Barnes carried on his steamboat line from 1866 to 1873 or 1874, perhaps later. The Madison directory for 1877-78 lists him as “captain of tug.” The owner of Strawberry Point—to revert to its first name—from 1868 or earlier was N. W. Dean. He seems to have rented or leased the land to Barnes for his picnic grounds.


In Volume Seven of the American Nation Mr. Thwaites states (page 52) that Lake Superior was discovered in 1616. All other secondary accounts give 1629. Can you tell me whether or not the date 1616 is a misprint? If not where can I get the information about its discovery?

E. G. Doudna,
Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The dates of the discoveries of the several great lakes are not definitely known, and there is no uniformity of statement concerning their first exploration. Dr. Thwaites’s works reflect this uncertainty. In the American Nation volume to which you refer he was inclined to accept the theory of Etienne Brulé’s exploration of Lake Superior, and thought it might have occurred after his journey to the Susquehanna in 1615, and before his return in 1618 to Quebec. Therefore he gives the date as 1616. In his Wisconsin, published in 1908, he appears to have rejected the theory of Brulé’s explorations, and states that Jean Nicolet in 1634 was probably the discoverer of Lake Superior. In his school History of the United States (Boston, 1912) he shows his doubt by giving “about 1629” as the date of the discovery. Not all secondary accounts give the date as 1629. Our own opinion is that there is no authority for this date, and that it arises from a misinterpretation of Edward J. Neill’s statement in Justin Winsor’s Narrative and Critical History of America, IV, 165. One of the latest histories of the Great Lakes (Channing and Lansing’s The Story of the Great Lakes, New York, 1909) gives no date for the discovery of Lake Superior, but assigns 1610 to the first white man’s voyage on Lake Huron, five years earlier than the traditional one of 1615 for Pg 198 Champlain’s first voyage. The whole matter turns on the career of Etienne Brulé, one of the youths selected by Champlain to reside among the Indians and learn their language. His adventures were first discussed in detail in C. W. Butterfield’s, Brulé’s Explorations and Discoveries (Cleveland, 1898). A more recent discussion in French, by the eminent Canadian authority Benjamin Sulte, appeared in the Canadian Royal Society Proceedings and Transactions, 3d. series, vol. 1, section 1, 97-125. Butterfield and Sulte substantially agree, and both consider that Etienne Brulé with a companion named Grenolle probably visited Lake Superior and explored it in 1622-23. The evidence is somewhat circumstantial, and the point may never be determined; but Champlain must have had some information, aside from that furnished by the Indians, for upon his map of 1632 appears the outline of Lake Superior entering Lake Huron by the “Sault de Gaston,” as he calls the present Sault Ste. Marie. If one rejects the evidence of Brulé’s voyage, which rests upon inference chiefly, the date 1629 is the last one in which Champlain could have obtained his information for his map published in 1632, since he was deported by English conquerors from his colony in the former year, and did not return until 1633.

Next to Brulé must be placed Jean Nicolet, who visited the Sault in 1634; whether he ascended the strait to the lake itself is conjectural. Then in 1641 came the great gathering of Indians attended by the Jesuit fathers, Jogues and Raymbault. (See L. P. Kellogg’s Early Narratives of the Northwest, New York, 1917, 19-25). The first description of Lake Superior is given by Pierre Esprit Radisson in his Journal. The probable date of his voyage thereon is 1661, but Father René Ménard arrived at Keweenaw Bay in the autumn of 1660.

It appears probable that the date of the discovery of Lake Superior cannot be determined with accuracy, and must remain uncertain unless scholars accept the conclusions of Butterfield and Sulte concerning Brulé. The same is true of the discovery of the upper Mississippi; it has been claimed for Nicolet in 1634, for Radisson in 1659, for La Salle in 1669, all antedating the voyage of Jolliet and Marquette in 1673. The truth is that from the beginning of French settlement on the St. Lawrence there was much roving Pg 199 to the sources of the great river. Many of these coureurs des bois were brave and courageous explorers, but they kept no records. It is thus dogmatic to say that the visit of the first white man to any given point occurred on such or such a date. We can only say when the first records were made describing such an event. The records for the voyage of Brulé and Grenolle in 1622 have not yet been universally accepted.


I am sending you some more letters from Quitos. In one of these letters he refers to War Chief Thunder fighting with George Washington against the Canadians. I would like to find out what fight that was. Can you tell me?

I would also like to find out whether Fathers Dablon and Claude Allouez visited the Kickapoo Indians on Milwaukee River in 1670 a few years before Jolliet and Marquette discovered the Mississippi. I have seen something to this effect somewhere.

A. Gerend,
Cato, Wisconsin.

It is an interesting fact that the Potawatomi of the west shore of Lake Michigan, notably those of Milwaukee, and probably those farther north, under the influence of Siggenauk or the Blackbird made a treaty at Cahokia, Illinois, with George Rogers Clark in September, 1778, and were thereafter for a time American allies. There was no actual service under Gen. George Washington, but the chiefs probably received medals or certificates in his name, and thus considered themselves fighting under his care. The Potawatomi returned to the British allegiance later, and opposed the Americans during all of the Indian wars. If our surmise of what Quitos means about Old Thunder is correct, it is a remarkable instance of the persistence of tradition concerning an American alliance, and a corroboration of Col. George Rogers Clark’s testimony about the attitude of the Milwaukee Potawatomi. Clark calls the two chiefs Saguina or “Mr. Black Bird and Nakiowin, two chiefs of the Bands of the sotairs [Chippewa] and Outaway Nation bordering on Lake Michigan and the River St. Joseph.” De Peyster, the British commandant at Mackinac, speaks in his poem or rhymed chronicle of Pg 200 1779 of “Those runagates at Milwakie” and calls them in a footnote “A horrid set of refractory Indians.” Thus in the Revolution, while most of the Wisconsin Indians were strong British supporters, the mixed band of Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi west of Lake Michigan were American sympathizers.

With regard to your second question: There is no record in the Jesuit Relations of any visit of Allouez and Dablon to Milwaukee in 1670. Such a statement was made before Dr. Thwaites’s edition of the Jesuit Relations appeared. Upon the publication in English of the exact text of the Relations it was seen that Allouez visited the Kickapoo in 1670 (not accompanied by Dablon) at their village four leagues (about fifteen miles) from the Mascouten village which was near the site of the modern Berlin, on the upper Fox River. Thus it was impossible for the Kickapoo village to have been at Milwaukee. It is quite probable that Perrot and other traders may have been at Milwaukee and along the shore of Lake Michigan before Jolliet and Marquette, but there is no recorded voyage before theirs.


Please send me the name and history of any or all the Indian tribes that at first occupied the state of Iowa. Also give me the name and history of any Indian tribe that once lived for a time, either long or short, in Iowa.

Daniel McKenna,
Charles City, Iowa.

The Indian tribes who are known to have dwelt in Iowa since historic times are the following:

The Illinois were found there by Marquette and Jolliet in 1673, but returned to the east side of the Mississippi in a few years.

The Iowa (name spelled in a great variety of ways, as Aiouais, Aoyest, Ayoes, Ayouez) were a Siouan or a Dakotan tribe found on the Des Moines River about the close of the seventeenth century.

The Sioux, whose eastern and southern branches extended into northern Iowa, where they were known to the whites in the late seventeenth century. The Kickapoo and Mascouten, allied tribes, driven from Wisconsin into Iowa about 1728. The Kickapoo soon removed; a few of the Mascouten lingered and gave their name to Muscatine.

Pg 201 The Sauk and Foxes, who after their defeat in Wisconsin in 1733 became allied tribes, and made their home thereafter chiefly in Iowa. Their villages in 1805 were along the Mississippi from Des Moines Rapids to Turkey River. By a treaty of 1842 they were to remove from Iowa; many came back and wandered on the Iowa and Des Moines rivers until they purchased lands in Tama County where they still dwell, now called the Musquakie or Meskwaki Indians.

The Winnebago who removed from Wisconsin after the treaty of 1837 to northeastern Iowa where they had a school and agency on Yellow River. In 1848 they were removed to Minnesota. The Omaha or Maha Indians lived in northwestern Iowa when Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri in 1804. In 1830 they ceded their lands to the United States which in 1833 ceded a portion to the allied Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes. Most of those who lived on this reservation from about 1835 to 1846 were Potawatomi.

For further history of these tribes apply to the Iowa Department of History at Des Moines, Edgar R. Harlan, curator.

Pg 202



The editorial in the September number of the Wisconsin Magazine of History entitled “Consolation for the Present Crisis,” has prompted me to enlarge upon one of its themes. Those of our citizens who feel disturbed by the presence among us of an anti-war element may find encouragement in a further recital of the doings of the anti-war advocates in Wisconsin half a century ago.

Shortly after the firing on Fort Sumter, when the North was roused to the utmost pitch of excitement, the democratic members of the legislature together with certain citizens of Madison, arranged for a peace mass meeting in the assembly chamber for the purpose of devising some compromise which should suffice to avert the impending war. At the appointed time the chamber was thronged with citizens, and a number of speeches were made by legislators and townsmen conveying various proposals of compromise which should be tendered the southern people. These addresses were vigorously applauded by a large proportion of the audience. Before the close of the meeting, however, there were calls for Senator Dean, a republican whose loyalty to the government was unquestioned. Greeted with tumultuous applause, he proceeded, after a few stirring sentences about the duties of citizenship, to say: “Compromise? Yes, we will compromise with them! We will send a million free men down through the southern states and drive the whole confederate army into the Gulf of Mexico!” The applause which greeted this sentiment shook the building, and lasted ten minutes or more. The meeting immediately adjourned, leaving the peace advocates without a program.

As the war progressed, and the future seemed dark indeed, another peace meeting was called at Madison, to be held in Capital Park. Noted speakers were engaged, and it was expected that a great demonstration in favor of ending the war would be staged. By this time Camp Randall had come into being as the principal military encampment for Wisconsin’s soldiers. Naturally the men did not Pg 203 look with enthusiasm upon the impending peace meeting. On the appointed day two or three hundred soldiers, having secured leave of absence from camp, dragged a six-pound cannon to capitol square; loading it with canister, they planted it in front of the speaker’s stand, with the quiet assurance to those in charge of the meeting that as soon as a treasonable word should be uttered the orator and all on the platform would be blown to hell. Under these circumstances the meeting proved very tame, the speeches being confined to deprecating the necessity for the war and hoping it would soon be over.

The Copperheads, as they had come to be called, did not omit any opportunity to flaunt their sentiments before the supporters of the government. In Madison alone probably hundreds of old-fashioned copper cents (a coin nearly an inch and a quarter in diameter) were filed down so as to leave only the Indian head in profile. To this a pin was affixed for attachment to the coat lapel, and the coins were worn to afford evidence that the wearer was a Copperhead in sentiment. Loyal citizens responded to this challenge by filing the eagle out of the silver quarter and wearing it as a badge. One prominent citizen, who wore the copperhead for over a year, lived to say that it was the one action of his life of which he was heartily ashamed.

There is today no such villification and abuse of President Wilson as was heaped upon Lincoln during the Civil War. After every Union defeat the Copperheads would say: “What did we tell you? You can never whip the South!” Some of the newspapers were so disloyal in sentiment that they were suppressed by military authority. In fact, the situation was very grave. In comparison with it the current pacifist machinations appear tame and insignificant. The great mass of the people, however, were determined to stand by the government till victory should be achieved. They persevered in this determination and the Union was preserved. So will it be today, whether the end comes in one year or five, whether the cost be five billions of dollars or fifty. There must be no compromise. Let the fight be to the finish.

Sincerely yours,

E. C. Mason.

Madison, October 1, 1917.


I have been reading the report of the sixty-fourth annual meeting of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin which I received yesterday. I was interested in the article by the pioneer missionary, especially as much of his work was done in a part of Wisconsin where I labored years ago. On page 184, in a note about Rev. Isaac Baird, it is said that he was appointed to Odanah, which is correct. Such positions must be filled by appointment. I may say that, unless my memory deceives me, the work at Odanah was of more consequence than Father Verwyst’s remarks would indicate. But it is said that Mr. Baird was removed to Crystal Falls, Michigan. I think it should rather be that Mr. Baird accepted a call to the pastorate of the church at Crystal Falls or to be its stated supply. If the writer of the word had written “Mr. Baird removed,” there would be no objection to the statement from a Presbyterian standpoint. But “was removed,” that is another matter.

In a speech delivered in the British House of Commons, July 9, 1845, Macaulay said, “All staunch Presbyterians think that the flock is entitled, jure divino, to a voice in the appointment of a pastor, and that to force a pastor on a parish to which he is unacceptable is a sin forbidden by the Word of God as idolatry or perjury. I am quite sure that I do not exaggerate when I say that the highest of our high churchmen at Oxford cannot attach more importance to episcopal government and episcopal ordination than many thousands of Scotchmen, shrewd men, respectable men, who fear God and honor the Queen, attach to this right of the people.” And to go to the fountain head, in “The Buke of Discipline” by John Knox, are these words. “It apperteneth to the Pepill and to every severall Congregation, to Elect thair Minister.” I quote verbatim et literatim. There is much more to the same effect. Excuse me for this screed, but I spent a good many years in Wisconsin as a Presbyterian minister and was used to having this question “speired at me” as the Scotch would say, when I returned from a meeting of presbytery, “Have you been sent back for another year?” When I explained to those people the Presbyterian way of doing, no one but said, “I believe that is the best way.” Yet many Presbyterians in Wisconsin wish to deny to the people that right. The note I Pg 205 refer to was written by a man who did not know the Presbyterian way of doing or else was one of the Presbyterians I referred to just above.[96] But those Presbyterians did not know the history of their own church. A great fight for democracy is on and we must fight for democracy in the church as well as in the state if we are to make the democracy of the state a success. See Fiske’s Beginnings of New England. Hence I do not wish the Wisconsin Historical Society to help even by a note the autocratic tendencies of some Wisconsin Presbyterians. Let us advance in democracy by going back to the time when people chose their bishop—you know the story of the election of Ambrose of Milan.

I remain
Yours faithfully and gratefully,
Angus Sillars.

Fairmount, Ill., July 24, 1917.

[96] The editor of the Society, rather than Father Verwyst, author of the article is responsible for the footnote statement which Mr. Sillars calls in question. It is freely admitted that he “did not know the Presbyterian way of doing.”

Pg 206



Seven new members have joined the State Historical Society during the quarter ending September 30; Charles D. Rosa, of Beloit; Edward P. Farley, of Chicago; Earl Murray, of Green Bay; William T. Evjue, of Madison; Frank M. Crowley, of Madison; Charles H. Crownhart, of Madison; and Dr. L.A. Quaife, of Rosalia, Washington. In the same period the Society lost through death two of its valued members, Otto B. Joerns, of Stevens Point, and Henry E. Legler, of Chicago.

In the death of Henry E. Legler on September 13 this Society sustained the loss of a valued friend and member. Many and divers as were the public positions he occupied—newspaper editor, legislator, secretary of the Milwaukee School Board, secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, librarian of the Chicago Public Library—it is not to the man as a public official that our thoughts involuntarily turn, but to the man as a friend. With unusual business capability, which involved securing the utmost of service and loyalty from his employees, Mr. Legler was possessed of personal characteristics that endeared him as well to the office messenger as to the members of the governing boards under whom he worked. His associations with this Society and the members of the library staff were long and close, and it seems fitting that we should express both sorrow for his loss, and gratification that it had been our privilege to have known him intimately.

Miss Mabel Swerig, for two years a faithful and efficient worker in the reference division of the Historical Library, severed her connection with the Society in September in order to enter upon a course of library training at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. Miss Mary Farley, for three years a member of the library staff, on October 1, assumed direction of the library maintained by Marshall Field and Company for its employees. The new position will afford Miss Farley an excellent opportunity for development in the line of her chosen profession. At the beginning of September Theron Brown, for the past two years assistant in the public documents division of the Library, enlisted for technical service in the United States Navy.

Carl Russell Fish and Frederic Logan Paxson, curators of the Society and professors of American history in the University of Wisconsin, spent the summer in Washington engaged in service for Pg 207 the government. Professor Fish’s time was given to the National Board for Historical Service, of which he is a member. Professor Paxson gave his services to the committee on public information.

Prof. Winfred T. Root, member of the State Historical Society and of the faculty of the State University, conducted history courses at the summer session of the University of Chicago.

Rev. Eugene Updike recently terminated a twenty-seven year pastorate of the First Congregational Church of Madison. In the last fifty-two years this church has had but two pastors, Mr. Updike’s predecessor having served a quarter of a century.

Capt. Arthur L. Conger, who delivered the annual address at the meeting of the State Historical Society in 1916, is now serving on General Pershing’s staff in France. Mrs. Conger has recently gone to France to be near her husband.

At the time of going to press, plans are practically complete for the annual meeting of the State Historical Society to take place October 25. Two events new to the annual program are a luncheon to be tendered by the Society to its members and invited friends and a conference of local historical societies. Because of Prof. Frederic L. Paxson’s work for the government, he was unable to prepare the annual address announced in the September number of the Magazine. In his stead Prof. Carl R. Fish will speak on “The Frontier a World Problem.” A full report of the meeting will appear in a later number of the Magazine.

The use of pageantry in depicting the historical development of a community is rapidly gaining headway in Wisconsin. Among those that attracted state-wide attention was the one given at Portage during the week of the Columbia County Fair, August 22-25, 1917. “America and the Nations” was the title of the pageant, and it was given in three episodes. In the first there was a symbolical scene representing the spirit of the Fox and the Wisconsin rivers. Then followed the Jesuit fathers, French traders, trappers, and pioneers. In the second episode the coming of miners, lumbermen, fishermen, and farmers was witnessed. The closing scene was a grand review of all the leading nations of the world, symbolizing an international unity. Over 700 people took part in the pageant.

The citizens of Chippewa County staged an interesting pageant at Holcombe during the week of their Community Fair, September 13 and 14. The pageant, given under the direction of H. A. Edminster, portrayed the coming of the fur traders in the Chippewa Valley, a bit of Indian life, the coming of the priests, lumbermen, and the first permanent settlers. The closing scene depicted the modern economic and industrial development of that region. One very interesting Pg 208 part of the performance was the appearance of an ox team hitched to an old “jumper,” driven by Mr. and Mrs. Edminister, representing their coming into that region.

Among those working for the cause of history in Wisconsin, none are doing more effective or practical work than some of the history committees of the county councils of defense. Among those that are rendering a real service is the committee of Eau Claire County, headed by William W. Bartlett. Their object is to gather, preserve, index, and make available for public use the proceedings of every event that takes place in Eau Claire County pertaining to the war. A complete file of newspaper clippings that deal with the war will be preserved. Also an effort is being made to secure a photograph and brief sketch of every young man entering the service from Eau Claire County. Such practical work as this commends itself to every patriotic citizen in Wisconsin, and the committees in other counties might do well to follow Eau Claire’s lead.

Mr. Charles E. Brown, chief of the Wisconsin Historical Museum, entertained in September a group of friends who are interested in the study of local Indian history at his attractive home in Nakoma, a suburb of Madison. A picnic supper was served, after which Mr. Brown gave an instructive talk upon Nakoma and its environment. Brief talks relating chiefly to Indian history were made by others present.

The surviving members of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Infantry held a joint meeting with the Scandinavian Veterans’ Association at Madison in September and plans were inaugurated for erecting a monument to the memory of Colonel Heg. Wisconsin had the distinction during the war of sending a regiment to the front composed almost exclusively of Scandinavians. Col. Hans Heg, their famous commander, was born in Norway, and came to America when eleven years old. At the opening of the Civil War he was holding the position of state prison commissioner, which he resigned in order to raise a regiment of troops. The Fifteenth Wisconsin brought credit to itself and to its state, and the name of Colonel Heg deserves a permanent place among the Wisconsin heroes of the Civil War.

At the meeting of the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs, held in Madison during October, the history section met in the museum of the State Historical Society. The visitors were taken for an automobile ride and sightseeing trip about the city.

The annual meeting of the Sauk County Historical Society was held at Baraboo, October 5, 1917. All the officers of the Society were reëlected for the ensuing year. The report of the Pg 209 treasurer revealed an especially gratifying condition, a considerable sum of money in the treasury and practically all membership dues paid in. A bequest of $200 from the estate of the late W. W. Warner of Madison, was received during the year. The Society voted to send two delegates to the annual meeting of the State Historical Society at Madison, October 25. The address of the evening was given by Mr. M. M. Quaife, Superintendent of the State Historical Society, on the subject, “The Angel of Wisconsin.”

The Old Rivermen’s Association of Minneapolis and St. Paul held their meeting in the latter city on September 4, 1917, and the chief address of the meeting was given by George B. Merrick, of Madison. No group of men in the upper Mississippi Valley has played a more romantic part in the opening up of this region than the old steamboat men. Their membership now numbers about 150, and the experiences which they relate form an interesting chapter in early Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin’s Indian drama entitled “Glory of the Morning,” written by Prof. W. E. Leonard, is being produced by Mrs. Emma Garrett Boyd of the Casino Studio, New York. The proceeds are being devoted to the war fund. This drama was first produced in Madison in 1912 by the Wisconsin Dramatic Society under the direction of Prof. T. H. Dickinson. As a summer festival play it has become one of the most popular in the country.

An interesting old account book kept by Jean Brunet of Brunet Falls (now Cornell), Wisconsin, was recently given to the Society by Mrs. Gustave Robart of Holcombe. The old Brunet tavern was the most widely known of any in the Chippewa Valley, and every traveler who went up and down the valley stopped with Jean Brunet. During its palmy days as many as 150 men were fed there at one time. The entries in the book cover the period from 1862 to 1876. Mrs. Robart, its donor, is a child of the first white settler in that part of the valley.

Recent accessions to the Society’s historical museum include fine examples of early English chinaware, an early American clock, lamp, children’s clothing, laces and embroideries, a steelyard, kitchen fire shovel, boat-builders’ rule, a railroad stock certificate, and other articles of interest. The most valuable single specimen is a large silver trophy cup given by the Army and Navy News and won by the First Wisconsin Infantry in the Second Brigade football contest among the troops stationed on the Mexican border in 1916.

An interesting collection of war relics has been placed on exhibit in one of the rooms of the museum just off the auditorium. The exhibit represents the current history of the present war, as illustrated Pg 210 by relics, war implements, and posters. The contents of the exhibit are changed every few days.

A valuable collection of papers was recently presented to the Society by Dr. Herbert B. Tanner. The collection contains many of the letters of John Lawe, the well-known merchant and fur trader of Green Bay, and some letters of George Boyd, an early Wisconsin Indian agent. Lawe through an inheritance left him by his uncle, Jacob Franks of Montreal, became a very wealthy trader, and following the War of 1812 settled in Green Bay. Here he acted as agent for the American Fur Company and his operations extended from Milwaukee as far west and north as the upper Mississippi. As adviser and counselor for the Indians and fur traders he became the leading citizen in what is now Wisconsin. Dr. Tanner’s donation contains fifty-three letters written by Lawe himself, ranging in time from 1824 until his death in 1846. Their chief interest lies in the additional light that they throw upon the early fur-trading interests of Wisconsin and the Northwest. The collection contains eighteen letters written by Jacob Franks covering the period from 1818 to 1830. Those written during the latter years express a feeling of regret over the gradual disappearance of the fur trade, and the coming in of new settlers. There are several letters of a personal nature that add interest to the collection. The Society is indebted to Doctor Tanner for this contribution of fur-trading documents.


The sixty-fourth annual session of the Wisconsin Teachers’ Association was held at Milwaukee, November 2 to 4, 1916. The chief value of its published Proceedings is in the fifty-nine papers and abstracts which it contains. Four of the principal addresses form a symposium on the subject of progress during the last decade in rural schools, secondary schools, normal schools, and the University of Wisconsin, the fourth topic being discussed by Dr. Charles R. Van Hise in his presidential address. Three important papers deal with recent achievements in elementary, rural, and secondary education. Notable addresses by persons from outside the state are those of William Wirt, John Finley, L. D. Coffman, and Dr. Maria Montessori. In addition to the papers, the volume contains minutes of business sessions, committee reports, the constitution and by-laws of the organization, and a list of members.

The twenty-second report of the commissioner of banking deals with the year closing on November 17, 1916. During this period state banks and trust companies gained $774,100 in capital invested, Pg 211 representing in all an investment of $23,672,350. The total resources of $298,617,175.61 show a gain for the year of $44,675,247.15. The increase in deposits amounted to $43,424,626.33. Attention is called to the increase from 21% to 22.7% in the average reserve held by state banks. The conclusion of the commissioner, based upon an analysis of the statistics of which the report largely consists, is that “the financial outlook for Wisconsin is most encouraging.” In a section on legislation the passage of a law to create a uniform system of school savings banks, under state supervision and subject to state control, is recommended. Most of the report is given over to statements of state banks, mutual savings banks, trust companies, land mortgage associations, and national banks.

The Department of English of the University of Wisconsin has issued a small pamphlet with the title A List of Books on the War. Out of the great mass of books on the subject a rigorous selection of some 270 titles has been made. These aim to include the most important works published prior to June 1, 1917. Short pamphlets and tracts have been excluded, and the titles are chiefly English and French. They are grouped into six divisions: “Background and Origins,” “Course and Conduct,” “Personal Narratives,” “Thought concerning the War,” “Peace and Readjustment,” “Miscellaneous.” The selections are discriminating, and the bulletin should prove of great value to students of the war.

An admirable innovation has been made in issuing the Governor’s Memorial Day proclamation as a small pamphlet, very neatly put up, rather than as a broadside of large, awkward size, and difficult to preserve in a series.

The importance of the dairy industry in Wisconsin is clearly brought out in a report of the dairy and food commissioner on Butter Factories and Cheese Factories Operated in 1916; Dairy Statistics for 1915. The gross profits in all branches of the industry for 1915 are estimated at more than $110,000,000. Approximately 235,000,000 pounds of cheese were produced. More than 124,000,000 pounds of butter were made in the state, about 20,000,000 pounds in excess of the production of 1909. The report contains an interesting statistical comparison of cheese and butter production for the years 1909 and 1915. Lists of operators of butter and cheese factories, and of cheese factories operated in 1916 by counties, are included. There is also a list of condenseries in Wisconsin.

Agriculture in the High School, A Manual for the High Schools of Wisconsin has been brought out by the Department of Public Instruction. The authors are Henry N. Goddard and John A. James. Issued as a guide for high schools giving agricultural work, particularly Pg 212 for those maintaining four-year departments, the manual illustrates admirably the new movement in secondary education. A historical sketch contains an account of the various laws which have shaped the agricultural movement in Wisconsin. The proper interpretation and method of applying these laws is made clear. The practical problems of the needs in the organization and management of high school agricultural departments are considered in detail, and a great amount of material helpful to the administration of such a department—particularly as to the scope and character of the work—is included. The manual has been prepared with great care, and appears to be a model of its kind.

The last report of the attorney-general continues the opinions, January 1, 1916, to December 31, 1916, and the eighth biennial report, July 1, 1914 to June 30, 1916. The first 65 pages contain a summary of the work of the attorney-general. An examination of these pages shows that during the period indicated 68 civil, 59 industrial commission, 2 bankruptcy, and 8 forfeiture cases were disposed of. Thirty-six criminal cases were disposed of, 23 in lower courts, 12 in the Supreme Court, and 1 in the United States Supreme Court. The official opinions of the attorney-general, filling 917 pages, embrace in their scope a great amount of state activity. In the printing of these opinions there is no classification or grouping of the material, such as in the reports of the attorney-general of Indiana, for example. A strictly chronological order is followed.

The report of the dairy and food commissioner for the year ending June 30, 1916, illustrates the vital need of protecting the public against the sale of adulterated and misbranded foods. It contains the reports of the state chemist, dealing with the inspection of beverages, canned vegetables, dairy products, dried fruit, and drugs; of the assistant dairy and food commissioner, and of the inspector of weights and measures. Special attention is called to the new dairy and food laws, and the new era in the dairy industry of Wisconsin which these laws introduce. As a result of unsanitary conditions in cheese factories and meat markets, and misrepresentations of foods, 79 convictions were secured. Druggists to the number of 226 were selling spirits of camphor not standard. Between April 17 and June 30, 2,221 factories were inspected. It was found that 35% of the butter factory operators and 24% of the cheese factory operators were complying with the license law and the new regulations. Much has been done in the economic interests of the public by the inspector of weights and measures, for the number of inaccurate computing scales decreased from 17% in 1914 to 8% in 1916.

Pg 213 The Country Church an Economic and Social Force is an interesting bulletin edited by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wisconsin. It points out that the thriving church in a rural community tends to unify agriculture, which in turn serves to nurture the church. The country or hamlet church thrives best where population is constant, and successful farming is advanced through the influence of the church upon daily habits. It is suggested that principles for the re-parishing of rural districts might be established through a joint commission of the national religious bodies, with a view toward creating stronger churches for the farmers. Several descriptions are given of Wisconsin country churches in which the religious leaders are fostering a progressive agriculture through coöperative social development. The remarkable story of a great country pastor, John Frederick Oberlin, who for sixty years labored for the social, industrial, and religious uplift of a poverty-stricken community, is given in illustration of the theories advanced in the bulletin.

The seventeenth biennial report of the Wisconsin state prison is largely statistical. The average number of convicts for the year ending June 30, 1915, was 807; for the year ending June 30, 1916, it was 906. During the latter period 140 to 180 convicts were employed and housed outside of the walls of the institution. Under the chaplain’s direction, school was held from one to two o’clock, three days a week, during six months of the year. There were fourteen classes and an average attendance of 110 men. Instruction was given the illiterate in four grades in reading, arithmetic, writing, and spelling. Earnings of inmates for the year were $35,696.50. New prisoners admitted numbered 511; of these 483 were male; 23 were under twenty years of age, and 117 over fifty years; 495 were white, 12 black, 3 Indian, and 1 mulatto; 230 were Catholic, 148 Protestants, 108 Lutherans, 3 Hebrews, 1 Greek Orthodox, 1 Seventh Day Adventist; 17 had no religion; 27 were illiterate, 41 had high school education, and 7 were college men; 174 were native to Wisconsin, 28 to Illinois, 29 to Michigan, 19 to Minnesota, 20 to New York, and 11 to Pennsylvania; 26 were born in Austro-Hungary, 20 in Finland, 34 in Germany, 10 in Norway, and 27 in Russia. The others came from various states and countries throughout the world. Statistics are given concerning occupations, residence by counties, crimes, terms of sentences, discharges, pardons, population since the organization of the prison in 1852, the binder twine plant, farm and gardening operations, and many other matters.

The merit system for the public service of Wisconsin was established in 1905, and the sixth biennial report of the Civil Service Pg 214 Commission has now been issued, covering the work done from July, 1914, to July, 1916. The classified service of the state comprises the exempt, competitive, noncompetitive, legislative employee, and labor classes. In these classes there are about 3,200 employees. From July 1, 1914 to July 1, 1916, 4,995 persons took competitive examinations. Of these, 2,903 passed, 2,079 failed; 376 permanent and 147 temporary appointments were made. That is, 58% passed, and 10½% were appointed to positions. The number of applicants for positions at state institutions has decreased, for various reasons. The report contains a map showing the number and distribution of employees in the state classified service. It also presents the results of certain studies aiming to increase the efficiency of the service. Half of the report consists of financial tables and rules.

The chief functions of the state fire marshal, as indicated in his ninth annual report, are two: combatting incendiarism, and doing fire prevention work. Coöperating with the local departments, the fire marshal has investigated 389 fires during the period covered by the report, from July 1, 1915 to December 31, 1916. Forty-six arrests were made, 12 persons were convicted and sentenced, 5 pleaded guilty and were sentenced, 6 were paroled, and 5 were sent to the hospital for the insane. In the year ending December 31, 1915, 3,066 fires in the state damaged buildings and contents to the extent of $5,932,980. These figures show the importance of the educational campaign for fire prevention conducted by the fire marshal. Thirteen newspaper articles were issued. These are printed in full in the report. Some of the titles are: Some Fires and Their Lessons, Safe Homes, Gasoline, Kerosene, Spring Clean Up, Safe Schoolhouses, and Holiday Fires. The report contains tables dealing with values, losses, classification of property, fire causes, number of fires according to classification of risk and cause, and other matters.

The biennial report of the adjutant-general deals with the two fiscal years ending June 30, 1916. It is a survey of the military activities of the state of Wisconsin during a period of trial and service. From July 1, 1914 to June 30, 1916, the Wisconsin National Guard increased from 201 officers and 2,990 enlisted men to a total of 208 officers and 4,224 enlisted men. Of these the report states that “4,168 officers and men are temporarily in the service of the United States in response to the call of the President issued June 18, 1916.” Since the date of this report, the war has placed a new responsibility upon the guard. The adjutant-general’s report gives information in regard to organization and strength, legislation, equipment, instruction, small arms firing, naval militia, medical Pg 215 department, expenses, military reservation, and pensions. The National Defense Act oath, making obligatory a three-year term of reserve service by national guard organizations, was taken by officers and enlisted men of the guard “with fine zeal and loyalty to their country, their state, and their organization.”

The first biennial report of the State Conservation Commission is one of unusual interest. Through a law of 1915 this commission (consisting of three commissioners and a secretary) succeeded to the powers and duties of the Forestry Board, State Park Board, Conservation Commission, Commissioners of Fisheries, and the State Fish and Game Warden Department. The purpose was to consolidate “all the closely related duties and problems of administration over forest and stream, fish and game, and to give powerful impetus to the conservation of the natural resources of the Badger State.” The result has been a notable increase in efficiency and economy. The change, it may be noted, dispensed with the services of twenty-two members of boards and commissions. A strict civil service régime has been inaugurated. The report contains a considerable number of papers and division reports dealing with the conditions, problems, constructive plans and achievements which are shaping the conservation movement in the state. A large number of admirably chosen illustrations show the richness, variety, and beauty of the resources of nature in Wisconsin. These pictures enhance the value of a report which contains information of peculiar interest and significance to the people of the state.

The biennial report of the secretary of state is largely a collection of financial statistics covering the fiscal years ending June 30, 1915 and June 30, 1916. The condition of all state funds, receipts and disbursements, the net disbursements of the state, the valuation of taxable property in the counties, and the apportionment of tax and special charges for 1914 and 1915, collected in 1915, are shown in detailed statements, and various tabular statements.

Part four of the ninth annual report of the Railroad Commission is an elaborate collection of financial and operating statistics of railroad companies for the period from June 30, 1914 to June 30, 1915. The report is divided into three parts: steam railroads, electric railways, and express companies. There are 234 closely printed pages of statistical tables and figures, which lay bare with utmost exactness and detail all phases of the finances and operations of the three classes of public carriers mentioned. The statistics are not confined merely to Wisconsin; for example, the tables exhibiting the income account of steam railroads for the year ending December 31, 1914, show first the accounts of interstate roads in Wisconsin, and Pg 216 thereafter the records of the entire systems of interstate roads which operate in Wisconsin.

The Railroad Commission of Wisconsin has published a digest covering the decisions contained in volumes I to XV of the official reports of the commission. The digest therefore covers all the decisions from July 20, 1905 to February 4, 1915. The compilation has been made by Harold L. Geisse. Its purpose is “to state briefly and yet clearly the principles and facts set forth in the decisions of the Commission….” The subject titles are alphabetically arranged, and carefully supplemented by cross-references. Precise references to sources are given for each decision. The value of such a compilation for lawyers is obvious. It should be noted that the separate volumes of the reports are each provided with an “index-digest.” For example, in volume XVI, recently published, this index covers pages 869 to 936. Volume XVI contains the opinions and decisions of the Railroad Commission from February 10, 1915 to November 15, 1915. Reports are given on hundreds of important cases dealing with railway, telegraph, telephone, express, and public utility problems.

Though the task of administering the income tax law is not at all times pleasant or easy, yet, in the opinion of the Wisconsin Tax Commission, “five years of experience have proved the law workable; taxpayers generally comply with its mandates without objection; and the resulting revenue has exceeded all expectations.” A chapter dealing especially with problems in the administration of the income tax law, and a series of tables showing the results of the income assessments of 1913, 1914, 1915, and 1916, form an interesting part of the eighth biennial report of the Wisconsin Tax Commission. This report is a detailed statement of the work of the commission for the years ending June 30, 1915 and June 30, 1916. In addition to the section on the income tax, the chief features of the report are its chapters on “Duties of Tax Commission,” “General Revision of Tax Laws Recommended,” “Assessment and Taxation of Public Service Companies,” “Inheritance Tax,” “Report of Engineers,” “Municipal Statistics,” and “Statistics of Assessments and Taxes.” A thoughtful address by Thomas E. Lyons on the subject “Our Increasing Public Expenditures” is included. Mr. Lyons finds the remedy for the situation in a closer limitation of the taxing and borrowing powers.

The Wisconsin state budget for 1917 was compiled for the use of the legislature of 1917 by the State Board of Public Affairs. In scientific completeness it represents a considerable advance upon former publications of the kind. To aid the legislature in “determining Pg 217 policies, and in working out a definite fiscal program and in the drafting of appropriate measures,” complete information is furnished along six lines. These are as follows: a report of actual receipts and disbursements for the three fiscal years prior to July 1, 1916; departmental estimates of receipts and disbursements for the current year 1916-1917; estimated treasury balances as of July 1, 1917; departmental receipts and disbursements for the biennial period beginning July 1, 1917; appropriations available beginning July 1, 1913; appropriations requested by the state departments, boards, commissions, and institutions for the biennium, beginning July 1, 1917. On January 5, 1917, after hearings and investigations, the Board of Public Affairs issued a typewritten bulletin with its recommendations on the budget. The 344 pages of the budget are mimeographed and bound.

The third biennial report of the Wisconsin Highway Commission deals with the state aid highway operations in the years from January 1, 1914, to January 1, 1916, together with preliminary estimates of operations to December 31, 1916. In the first five years of work under the state aid law, 4,846 miles of all types of roadway have been constructed in Wisconsin; of this mileage, 2,771 miles have been surfaced with various materials; in grading, approximately 10,300,000 cubic yards of earth have been excavated and placed in fills; 8,662 concrete culverts have been built on these roads, containing 100,000 cubic yards of concrete; since July 1, 1911, 2,819 county and state bridges have been constructed in accordance with the plans of the commission; at the height of the working season in 1916 the daily employment in the work included 175 engineers, county highway commissioners, and inspectors, 600 foremen, 6,000 laborers, and 2,500 teams. The daily pay roll for state, counties, and towns was in the vicinity of $22,000. In state aid roads and bridge construction in 1915, there was expended $4,134,830; in 1916, $4,215,183; the report estimates an expenditure of at least $4,600,000 in 1917. The report contains many discussions of phases of the road problem that are of timely importance. Many interesting illustrations of the types of construction built under the state aid law are given.

The address on John Muir delivered by President Van Hise upon the occasion of the unveiling of a bronze bust of the famous naturalist at the University of Wisconsin has been published as a small eighteen page pamphlet. At the age of eleven Muir came to America from Scotland with his father, and settled on a farm a few miles from Portage. He spent four years at the University of Wisconsin, maintaining himself by “doing odd jobs during the term and working in Pg 218 the harvest, fields in the summer.” In speaking of his departure from Madison, Muir writes in his book My Boyhood and Youth, “But I was only leaving one university for another, the Wisconsin University for the University of Wilderness.” President Van Hise gives an eloquent account and interpretation of the life of this noted son of Wisconsin. “The great public service of John Muir,” writes President Van Hise, “was leading the nation through his writings to appreciate the grandeur of our mountains and the beauty and variety of their plant and animal life, and the consequent necessity for holding forever as a heritage for all the people the most precious of these great scenic areas. Probably to his leadership more than to that of any other man is due the adoption of the policy of national parks.”

History of the Civil War Military Pensions, 1861-1885 is the title of a bulletin recently issued by the University of Wisconsin in its History Series (vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-120). It is the doctor’s thesis of John William Oliver. As the title indicates it is a survey beginning with the reorganization of the pension system as a consequence of the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, and it carries the study through a period of twenty-four years. Beginning with a description of the situation before the Civil War, the author examines the succession of acts passed between 1861 and 1870, and the various administrative problems occasioned by the war. “By 1871,” writes Mr. Oliver, “it appears as if Congress had extended the benefits of the pension laws so as to include all possible claimants. Within ten years, over 261,000 Civil War pensioners had been added to the rolls, and the Government had already paid out more than $152,000,000 for their benefit.” The enactment of many contradictory laws led to the codification act of 1873. This act is described in the second chapter of the book, together with attempts at reforming the pension system. A third chapter discusses the act passed January 25, 1879, providing for the payment of arrears——“the most significant and far-reaching piece of pension legislation enacted during the period covered” in the study. The effects of this act may be seen in the increase, during the first six years after its passage, of the number of pensioners from 223,998 to 345,125, and in the amount expended annually from $27,000,000 to $68,000,000. The last chapter of the bulletin deals with the relation of pensions and politics, which assumed considerable importance in the years following the Arrears Act. At the conclusion of the thesis, development to 1885 is summarized. A later monograph is promised, to treat of the new epoch which the pension system then entered.

The biennial report of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin for the years 1914-15 and 1915-16 consists largely of the Pg 219 report of the President, followed by reports of deans, directors, business manager, and other officers. The President’s report contains two main divisions: “The Progress of the University,” and “The Needs of the University.” The faculty numbered 389 in 1913-14. The number increased to 437 in 1915-16. In the year preceding the biennium the total number of students, including the short course and summer sessions, was 6,765. The number increased to 7,596 in 1914-15, and to 7,624 in 1915-16. Though the survey conducted by the Board of Public Affairs resulted in controversy, and led to no direct results, yet in consequence of a spirit of self-inquiry at the University a large committee was appointed by the faculty in the autumn of 1915, which was divided into a number of special committees to consider means of improving the University in undergraduate instruction, research, graduate, and field work, foreign language requirements, faculty organization, faculty records, and University physical plant. As a result of this inquiry, new legislation to be put in effect during the next biennium is expected materially to improve the efficiency of the University. These subjects are considered in some detail in the report. The needs of the University are discussed under the heads of salaries, and constructional needs. The varied activities of the University may be comprehended by a study of the many departmental and other statements included in the report.

The first annual report of the state chief engineer of Wisconsin issued in March, 1917, reveals the enormous work that has been taken over by that department. Five separate divisions known respectively as the railroad and utility, the highway, the architectural, the power plant, and the sanitary divisions have been established, and special experts placed in charge of each. The railroad and utility division was faced with duties greater than those of any other department. In making a physical valuation of all the steam railroads in Wisconsin it was found that there are over 11,000 miles of track in the state. The cost of the rolling stock, terminals, stores, and other equipment exceeds $385,000,000. The twenty-eight electric railways of the state have over 400 miles of track, with properties valued at $57,000,000. The state highway division reported that over $3,600,000 had been expended for state aid construction of roads in 1916. Over a half million dollars was spent in state aid bridge construction and 352 bridges of all types were built. The architectural division has formulated a standard for contracts, plans and specifications for labor and material to be used by the different institutions of the state. The power plant division supervises the operation of the various state plants, the purchase of fuel, specifies the plans for construction work and examines all bids. The sanitary Pg 220 division, aside from conducting the investigation of different water supplies, drainage, and sewage systems, is also vitally interested in enlightening the public upon the importance of sanitation.

According to the Twentieth Annual Report of the Building and Loan Association there are seventy-seven such organizations in Wisconsin. The past two years have been unusually profitable for them. Their total assets amount to $16,873,000 which was an increase of $2,500,000 over the previous year. Their membership now numbers 45,891, showing a 21 per cent increase over the preceding year. Although their business showed a considerable increase, yet the report states in some cases money was so plentiful that it could not always be loaned with profit.

That there exists among the farmers of this state an unusually strong system of coöperation is proved by a bulletin issued by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wisconsin in July, 1917. The industries that are managed on a coöperative basis in this state do an annual business amounting to more than $62,000,000. The creamery industry leads all the others, and in 1916 those plants that were run on a coöperative plan did business amounting to over $19,000,000. The two organizations that are most instrumental in promoting this spirit of coöperation are the American Society of Equity and the Grange. The former has a membership in Wisconsin now in excess of 12,000, while the Grange societies have over 2,200 names on their rolls. In addition to these two organizations there are sixteen others listed that tend to promote unity among the farmers of the state. The most important ones mentioned are the National Agricultural Organization, the farmers’ mutual insurance companies, the community breeders’ associations, feed and elevator companies, coöperative creameries, packing plants and others. The coöperative organizations are so numerous throughout the state that but few farmers can be found who are not identified with one or more of the agencies. The day of individualism among Wisconsin farmers is fast disappearing.

The sixteenth edition of the Manual for Elementary Course of Study in the schools of Wisconsin was issued in July, 1917. The state superintendent of public instruction has rendered a valuable service by discussing many pedagogical questions and in making concrete suggestions to the teachers. The object of the department was to place in the hands of each teacher a brief pedagogical treatise in connection with the subject matter to be taught. This report combines what may rightly be called a textbook on pedagogy with a state manual. More than ever the department of education is emphasizing the importance of bringing about a closer relationship between teacher and pupil, and some very practical and simple suggestions Pg 221 are laid down for promoting this relationship. The method for teaching children how to study properly, the importance of careful assignments of lessons, and the manner in which recitations can be made interesting and spicy are all discussed in a practical way. The policy of reducing the number of daily recitations is suggested, and the combining of classes most closely related is advised, especially in rooms where the work is crowded.

In a leaflet issued by the State Council of Defense, July, 1917, announcement is made of a course of instruction to be given for health aides in several of the larger hospitals of the state. The plan is to offer six months of intensive training to young women in order to prepare them to care for the civilian sick when the regular registered nurses are drawn into military hospitals. The cost of training, board, lodging, and laundry bills will all be paid by the State Council of Defense. In return for this instruction each of the successful candidates is required to sign an agreement to attend the sick in the state of Wisconsin for a period of two years after completing the six months’ course. The first training school was opened at the Milwaukee County Hospital, Wauwatosa, July 1, 1917.


Merk, Frederick. Economic History of Wisconsin During the Civil War Decade. Publications of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Studies, Vol. I. Published by the Society, Madison, 1916. Pp. 414.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has inaugurated its series of Studies by the most elaborate work of constructive history it has published, which is also the most comprehensive treatment of the economic history of any state during the constitutional period, taking rank with Bruce’s Virginia and Weeden’s New England. The author has produced a book which is of interest not only to the state with which it deals, but to every student of American history.

The American state, at least today and in the West, is an artificial unit, whose political separateness barely justifies that exclusive devotion of the historical student which the vastness of the United States seems to render necessary if the roots of our life are to be discovered. To recognize the influence of national conditions, without making the treatment national, to individualize the community without making it appear a detached entity, requires a variety of skill which can not be produced by scientific study alone, but demands also real literary ability. This skill Merk clearly possesses, and he has created an impression of an economic life, distinctly confined to the area of the state, yet part of that of the Union, and in Pg 222 touch with that outside the national limits. He is fully conscious of the importance of Wisconsin wheat in our relations with Great Britain, and of the interstate functions of a medium of exchange, but he is not betrayed into a discussion of diplomacy or of national banking.

A similar difficulty is always presented when one attempts a cross-section of any history, for periods are even more artificial than state lines. Economically the “Decade” of the Civil War does not have those distinguishing features which are generally used to mark off, for convenience of study, one set of years from another. Doubtless the consideration which determined the selection was again artificial, the United States system of decennial censuses. Mr. Merk, however, allows himself more latitude in this case, and his work actually covers the real economic period, 1857 to 1873.

The chronological difficulty is intensified by the rapid changes of a new community. Wheat growing reaches its apex and declines, lumbering waxes, but neither begins nor culminates, movements feebly originate that are later of absorbing interest. The adjustment of proportions between these conflicting interests is delicately handled. The picture is that of the time, but the stage in the development of each industry is clearly indicated, and the origins of later movements given in some detail. The volume will afford a base for histories of the earlier and later periods, but has not skimmed their cream.

The technical character of the work is high. Newspapers and statistics were not only used, but are analyzed. The great resources of the State Historical Society were supplemented by personal interviews. The volume contains ample footnotes, illustrations, a map, index, but no bibliography. Its make-up is in the new, and more satisfactory, form recently adopted by the Society.

The title indicates that the center of interest is the effect of war on the Wisconsin community. This problem runs throughout, and is of especial interest today. Mr. Merk emphasizes the relative facility of adjustment in an agricultural community. Another general feature is the tendency toward coöperation in industry, particularly agriculture, for the purposes of education and general improvement, which later became so characteristic of Wisconsin.

Agriculture properly opens the volume with its vital but somewhat monotonous progress enlivened by the lively episode of hops. Lumbering receives fewer pages, but two chapters; the first, on the industry, the second, on the lumber wars. Railroads receive five chapters and almost as many pages as both, including two picturesque fights, which formed, in large measure, the basis of state politics during the period. Banking and trade about equal agriculture, and reveal a Pg 223 state youthful but less reckless than many others. A chapter on labor is chiefly concerned with the beginnings of the labor movement, labor in industry being largely discussed in connection with the various fields. There are other chapters on mining, manufacturing, the commerce of the Upper Mississippi, and the commerce of the Great Lakes. No one reading of the lumber wars or the Anti-Monopoly Revolt can complain that economic history is dry.

The most unique contribution is doubtless that on the history of lumbering. Nevertheless the study of railroading reveals the advantages in taking up so vast a subject by localities. Generalizations become vivid by the detail that is given them. One sees how the railroads were unscrupulous, how the voters were unreasonable. The handling of such questions on a scale that involves personalities is a searching test of historical poise, and Mr. Merk shows a candor and a fair-mindedness that are impeccable; he sometimes criticizes action, but never impugns the motive.

The reviewer hesitates to close without adverse criticism, for fear that the review may be considered perfunctory. He could not, with honesty, do otherwise than express his conviction that the work is unusual in the degree and the well-rounded proportion of its excellence. If anything more could be desired, it seems to be a concluding chapter, not to add new facts, but to give a greater sense of development. Each chapter moves, but the topical method brings its inevitable result; one cannot entirely escape the impression of a street corner rather than a river bank.

Carl Russell Fish.

Two of the four leading articles in the October number of the American Historical Review are by Wisconsin men. Prof. Herbert E. Bolton, now of California, discusses “The Mission as a Frontier Institution in the Spanish-American Colonies.” Prof. W. T. Root, of the University of Wisconsin, writes of “The Lords of Trade and Plantations.” Other leading articles in the magazine are “A Case of Witchcraft” by George L. Kittredge, and “The History of German Socialism Reconsidered” by Prof. C. J. H. Hayes.

The September number of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review contains three articles of special interest to Wisconsin readers. The first, “The Rise of Sports,” by Prof. Frederic Logan Paxson, curator of the Society, was delivered as the recent annual presidential address before the Mississippi Valley Historical Association. It traces in interesting fashion the development in America between 1876 and 1893 of a widespread interest in out-of-door exercise. B. H. Schockel writes on the “Settlement and Development of the Lead and Zinc Mining Region with Special Emphasis on Jo Daviess County, Illinois.” The district treated of consisted of Grant, Iowa, and Pg 224 Lafayette Counties in Wisconsin, and of Jo Daviess County, Illinois. Although the latter county affords the particular locus for the study, it applies with almost equal force to the three counties of southwestern Wisconsin included in the lead mining district. Finally, Prof. James A. James, of Northwestern University, writes on “Spanish Influence in the West during the American Revolution.”

The Wisconsin Archeological Society has recently issued two reports, one describing the antiquities of Green Lake, the other describing the early Indian remains of Shawano County. The latter report is based upon the recent surveys made of the Shawano Lake and Wolf River Region by George R. Fox, a former resident of Wisconsin, but now a curator of the Chamberlain Museum in Three Oaks, Michigan. The Society is now making an earnest effort to preserve a fine Indian mound on the shore of Lake Anderson, in Forest County. This mound, 10 feet high and 45 feet in diameter, stands at the edge of an old Indian village site and is the only one in that part of the country. Relic hunters have already begun to dig into it, and the state Archeological Society, realizing its historic value, is urging the owner to preserve it permanently and mark it with a descriptive tablet.

The first issue of the Michigan History Magazine published by the Michigan Historical Commission appeared in July, 1917. Like similar magazines, its chief purpose is that of serving as an historical news bulletin, and as a medium of publication for papers of historical interest. The first number contains five contributed articles, with sections devoted to historical news, notes, and comments. One of the features to be mentioned is that of securing reports from all the county and local historical societies regarding their activities. Since the local societies cannot support a joint publication, this method offers a good substitute. By this exchange of news, each society is kept in touch with the proceedings of the other. A contributed article of more than ordinary merit appears in the first issue by Rev. F. X. Barth on “The Field for the Historian in the Upper Peninsula.” Aside from indicating the numerous points of historical interest found in the Upper Peninsula, many of which are shared jointly by Wisconsin, the paper presents one of the strongest appeals for the value of local history study that can be found anywhere. It is recommended to every reader of our Society.

Dr. George N. Fuller, Secretary of the Michigan Historical Commission, is the author of a new book entitled the Economic and Social Beginnings of Michigan. The study deals with the settlement of the Lower Peninsula during the territorial period from 1805 to 1837. Doctor Fuller has given special attention to the purely economic Pg 225 conditions that existed in the Michigan Territory until her admission into the Union. It is by far the most interesting and authentic volume on the early history of Michigan that has appeared. The work is richly illustrated and is printed in large, readable type.

The Michigan Historical Commission proposes to reproduce by photostatic process the rare files of the Kentucky Gazette, 1787-1800, and the Detroit Gazette, 1817-1830. Of the former, but one file is known to exist, that in the Lexington Public Library. Of the latter file, the Wisconsin Historical Library possesses six bound volumes, covering over one-half of the total period. It is proposed to issue ten sets of each paper for as many subscribing libraries.

The Filson Club of Louisville has issued as number twenty-eight of its publications The Kentucky River by Mary Verhoeff. In this and other similar studies supported by the Filson Club, Kentucky is accumulating a valuable history of her state development. River navigation played a larger part in the early history of Kentucky than in almost any other of the western states. Miss Verhoeff’s chapter on the “Beginnings of River Commerce” contains one of the most interesting discussions of trade in the early Ohio Valley that has recently appeared. The study is profusely illustrated, consisting of six chapters and 257 pages. In marked contrast with the expensive volumes that thus far have been issued by the Filson Club, the present one appears in a most simple dress with covers of heavy paper.

Mr. A. C. Quisenberry has an interesting article in the September number of the Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society on the “History of Morgan’s Men.” There are few chapters in the military history of the Confederacy that compare in interest with the swift, dashing raids of Generals Morgan and Forrest. There are many historical readers who do not know that the southern forces ever came north of the Ohio during the conflict between the states. But during the summer of 1863 the citizens of Indiana and Ohio were given the greatest scare they ever experienced when General Morgan led 2,000 men in a mad dash across these two states and reached Columbia County, Ohio, where surrounded by over 80,000 regulars, volunteers, and home guards, he surrendered. Mr. Quisenberry’s article gives us a praiseworthy review of this brilliant raid.

One of the most important publications of original documents that has recently appeared relating to the southwestern portion of the United States and Louisiana Territory is the collection of the official letter books of Gov. William C. C. Claiborne, edited by Dr. Dunbar Rowland of the Mississippi Historical Society. Governor Pg 226 Claiborne was perhaps the most important man in the entire Southwest from 1803 to 1817. He touched American life at many vital points, and his correspondence during the years in which he served as Governor of that vast territory is filled with observations and suggestions that relate to every important activity of the Southwest. The letters now made available for the first time comprise the chief source material from which the history of that significant section of American history must be written. The letters fill six octavo volumes, personally edited by Dr. Dunbar Rowland.

With the passing of the American frontier and the rapid settlement of every habitable portion of the western states, the present generation of readers welcomes with interest the personal reminiscences of those who figured in such epoch-making events. The death of Col. William F. Cody, more widely known as Buffalo Bill, marks the passing of the most famous and picturesque character of his time. In his autobiography entitled Buffalo Bill’s Own Story published by John R. Stanton, 1917, we have a vivid and in many respects an historical work of no slight importance. Mr. William Lightfoot Visscher who for two score years was a boon companion of Colonel Cody adds a chapter dealing with the incidents attending the last days of the noted pioneer, and an account of his death and burial. No man in all America could approach Colonel Cody in popularizing the events that played so prominent a part in the passing of the Indian and the westward migration of the whites. As scout, Pony express rider, Indian fighter, law maker, and showman he became an international character, and the dramatic events that marked such a career have passed from the active stage of western history.

The September, 1917 issue of the Georgia Historical Quarterly has as its leading article a biographical sketch of Mrs. Eleanor Kinzie Gordon, of Savannah, recently deceased, granddaughter of John Kinzie, the well-known Indian trader of early Chicago. Mrs. Gordon’s father, John Harris Kinzie, was sub-Indian agent for the Winnebago, stationed at Fort Winnebago for several years prior to 1834. To this frontier fort her mother, a cultivated New England girl, was brought as a bride in the year 1830. She is best known to later times by her charming book Wau Bun, a semi-historical narrative of family traditions and personal experiences in the early northwest. Its contents deal for the most part with the author’s life at Fort Winnebago and the book may fairly be regarded as a classic of early Wisconsin literature. Mrs. Gordon, the daughter, was born in Chicago in 1835. In early womanhood she married a citizen of Georgia and so for upwards of sixty years her home has been in that state.

Pg 227 Within the last few years Henry Ford has won for himself a place in the heart of the American public fairly comparable to that achieved long since by Thomas A. Edison, who, like Ford, was a Michigan boy. A good biography of Ford would be welcomed, we believe by thousands of Americans, not including those who own Ford cars. “Henry Ford’s Own Story” as told to Rose Wilder Lane (New York, 1917) is a hastily constructed narrative put together in characteristic reportorial fashion and frankly laudatory in character. Nevertheless it presents the essential facts about the noted manufacturer’s career, reads interestingly, and should at least serve to whet the appetite of the reading public for a biography which should be really worthy of its unique subject.

Bulletin of Information No. 87 of the Society, which has recently come from the press, is an account of “The Public Document Division of the Wisconsin Historical Library.” The immediate purpose of the bulletin is to serve as a guide to our own public document division. The full treatment which the author (Mrs. Anna W. Evans, chief of the document division of the library) has given the subject of the bulletin, however, should render it a valuable bibliographic aid to any library or student who has occasion to deal with American or British public documents. Members and friends of the Society will be pleased to know that our collection of public documents is believed to be the best west of the Alleghanies and to take high rank among the leading collections of the entire country. In the treatise under discussion the author has especially sought to emphasize the friendly, human qualities of the contents of the documents entrusted to her care. She has fully succeeded in realizing her aim.

A history of Sauk County, Wisconsin, it is understood, is shortly to be issued by the Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago.

A Son of the Middle Border, by Hamlin Garland, published by the Macmillan Company of New York, is a narrative of unusual interest to Wisconsin readers. In it the author tells the story of his early life, first on a “coulee” farm in western Wisconsin, later as an emigrant (with his parents) successively to northern Iowa and the Dakotas. Many of those of maturer years who read the book will find depicted in it with extraordinary clearness scenes and conditions of a life, now largely vanished, which they themselves have shared in earlier years.

A survey made by the United States Department of Agriculture in December, 1916, on the number of silos in this country shows that Wisconsin leads all other states in the Union. Out of a grand total of 333,160, Wisconsin had 55,992. New York was second with Pg 228 42,846. The past year saw several thousand more silos constructed in Wisconsin, and the Agricultural Department of the State Council of Defense estimates the number will now reach 60,000. The average capacity of Wisconsin silos is 120 tons, while those of New York average but 62 tons.

The State Historical Society of Iowa has begun the publication of a series of pamphlets issued under the general caption Iowa and War. The object of the Society is “to present in attractive form a series of small pamphlets dealing with a variety of subjects relating to interesting matters connected with the history of Iowa.” Volume I, number 1, published in July is devoted to an account of “Old Fort Snelling” by Marcus L. Hansen. Old Fort Snelling belongs to the Upper Mississippi Valley in general and Mr. Hansen’s account of it should possess as much interest for citizens of Wisconsin as for those of Iowa. “Enlistments from Iowa during the Civil War,” by John E. Biggs is published in No. 2 for August. No. 3, for September, contains an account of “The Iowa Civil War Loan,” written by Ivan L. Pollock.

Since the declaration of war by the United States upon Germany, the study of military history in this country has practically monopolized the attention of historical investigators. The leading article in the Iowa Journal of History and Politics for July, 1917, deals with “Enlistments during the Civil War.” Like Wisconsin and other northern states, Iowa found herself utterly unprepared for a war. The writer states that at the beginning of the conflict in 1861, there was not a single unit of the regular army in Iowa, nor were there any forts or garrisons. There was not a military post in the state and the nearest arsenal was in St. Louis. A discussion of the draft and its administration in Iowa forms a valuable part of the study.

C. W. Johnston, a Des Moines lawyer of thirty years standing, “concluded to discontinue and enter upon a period of travel.” Along the Pacific by Land and Sea (Chicago, 1916) contains a series of breezy letters which he wrote back to the Des Moines Register and Leader. They contain the reactions of this son of the Middle West toward the new environment afforded by a visit, apparently his first, to various cities on the Pacific coast. Through dint of reiterated remarks on the subject the reader leaves the book with the not entirely valid conviction that one of the “certainties” for which Des Moines bears the palm among her sister cities is that of being the dirtiest place in the United States.

The importance of religious denominations in the growth of our State and national history is being recognized more and more Pg 229 by historical students. In the Indiana Magazine of History, June, 1917, appears an interesting article by Rev. Elmo A. Robinson entitled “Universalism in Indiana.” While the writer deals primarily with the growth of that denomination in Indiana, yet mention is also made of the influences of Universalism in the other states of the Old Northwest. A review of the proceedings of the Northwest Conference of Universalists shows that the Wisconsin delegates figured prominently in the activities of this denomination.

Pg 230
Illustration: CORDELIA A. P. HARVEY

From a photograph in the Wisconsin Historical Library

Pg 231

VOL. I, NO. 3 MARCH, 1918


Illustration: Printer's Logo


Edited by



Pg 232


A Wisconsin Woman’s Picture of President Lincoln Cordelia A. P. Harvey 233
The Dutch Settlements of Sheboygan County Sipko F. Rederus 256
Pioneer Recollections of Beloit and Southern Wisconsin Lucius G. Fisher 266
Chicago Treaty of 1833: Charges preferred against George B. Porter; Letter from George B. Porter to President Andrew Jackson 287
Historical Fragments:
The Disputed Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary; An Early Wisconsin Play 304
The Professor and the Finger Bowl; The Printing of Historical Publications; Is War Becoming More Horrible?; Some Leaves from the Past; The Development of Humanitarianism; Other Agencies; Some Facts and Figures; Bravery Then and Now; Schrecklichkeit 309
Question Box:
The First Settler of Baraboo; The Chippewa River during the French and British Régimes; The Career of Colonel G. W. Manypenny; Treaty Hall and Old La Pointe 319
More Light on the Originator of “Winnequah”; A History of Our State Flag 327
Survey of Historical Activities:
The Society and the State; Some Wisconsin Public Documents; Some Publications 330

The Society as a body is not responsible for statements or opinions advanced in the following pages by contributors.


Pg 233


Cordelia A. P. Harvey

Hundreds of loyal women labored devotedly during the Civil War ministering to the needs of the northern soldiers. Of them all, none worked more effectively or earned a larger measure of appreciation and devotion on the part of those she served than Mrs. Cordelia A. P. Harvey, wife of Governor Lewis Harvey of Wisconsin. After his tragic death by drowning at Savannah, Tennessee, while engaged in a mission of mercy to Wisconsin’s wounded soldiers, Mrs. Harvey conceived the idea that it was her duty to carry forward the work that her husband had left unfinished. In September, 1862, Governor Salomon appointed her sanitary agent at St. Louis, and until the end of the war she continued in this service. Some idea of her methods and of their effectiveness may be gained from the narrative which follows. What the soldiers thought of her is sufficiently indicated by the title “The Angel of Wisconsin,” which they bestowed upon her.

The narrative we print is from Mrs. Harvey’s typewritten copy of a lecture which she delivered following the close of the war. This manuscript the owner, Mrs. James Selkirk of Clinton, Wisconsin, permitted the Wisconsin History Commission to copy a few years since, and it was made the basis, in large part, of chapters VIII and IX of Hurn’s Wisconsin Women in the War between the States, published by the commission in 1911. Prior to this the portion of the paper pertaining to President Lincoln was drawn upon by J. G. Holland in preparing his life of Lincoln. Thus the paper has twice been drawn upon freely for publication. Notwithstanding this, the complete story in Mrs. Harvey’s own words is sufficiently interesting and important to justify its publication Pg 234 at this time. In the preparation of the narrative for publication a few changes in punctuation and typography have been made, and one paragraph, clearly interpolated for the benefit of the lecturer’s younger hearers, has been deleted. These things aside, the story is now printed for the first time just as Mrs. Harvey composed it.

*  *  *  *  *

Perhaps it is not well to open too frequently the deep wells of past sorrow that we may drink the bitter draughts which memory offers. Still, we would not forget the past—our glorious past—with all its terrible trials, its untold sufferings, its unwritten history. The Christian never forgets the dying groans on Calvary that gave to him his soul’s salvation; neither can an American citizen forget the great price paid for the life and liberty of this nation. Next to love of God is love of country.

It is not my object to awaken any morbid feelings of sentimental sorrow, or to open again the deep wounds which time has healed. Neither do I wish to serve up to an unhealthy imagination a dish of fearful horrors from which a healthy organization must turn away. I would only ask you to look at the shadows a little while, that the life and light of peace and plenty which now fill our land may by contrast impress upon your hearts a picture more beautiful than any artist could place on canvas. Shadows always make the light more beautiful.

In the fall of 1862 I found myself in Cape Girardeau, where hospitals were being improvised for the immediate use of the sick and dying then being brought in from the swamps by the returning regiments and up the rivers in closely crowded hospital boats. These hospitals were mere sheds filled with cots as thick as they could stand, with scarcely room for one person to pass between them. Pneumonia, typhoid, and camp fevers, and that fearful scourge of the southern swamps and rivers, chronic diarrhea, occupied every bed. A Pg 235 surgeon once said to me, “There is nothing else there: here I see pneumonia, and there fever, and on that cot another disease, and I see nothing else! You had better stay away; the air is full of contagion, and contagion and sympathy do not go well together.”

One day a woman passed through these uncomfortable, illy-ventilated, hot, unclean, infected, wretched rooms, and she saw something else there. A hand reached out and clutched her dress. One caught her shawl and kissed it, another her hand, and pressed it to his fevered cheek; another in wild delirium, cried, “I want to go home! I want to go home! Lady! Lady! Take me in your chariot, take me away!” This was a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy of the South, who had left family and friends forever; obeying his country’s call, he enlisted under the stars and stripes because he could not be a traitor. He was therefore disowned, and was now dying among strangers with his mother and sisters not twenty miles away; and they knew that he was dying and would not come to him. Father, forgive them, they knew not what they did.

As this woman passed, these “diseases,” as the surgeon called them, whispered and smiled at each other, and even reached out and took hold of each others’ hands, saying, “She will take us home, I know her; she will not leave us here to die,” not dreaming that hovering just above them was a white robed one, who in a short time would take them to their heavenly home.

This woman failed to see on these cots aught but the human [beings] they were to her, the sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers of anxious weeping ones at home; and as such she cared for and thought of them. Arm in arm with health, she visited day by day every sufferer’s cot, doing, it is true, very little, but always taking with her from the outside world fresh air, fresh flowers, and all the hope and comfort she could find in her heart to give them. Now and then one would Pg 236 totter forth into the open air, his good constitution having overcome disease, and the longings for life so strong within him that he grasped at straws, determined to live. If perchance he could get a furlough, in a few weeks a strong man would return and greet you with, “How do you do, I am on my way to my regiment!” Who this stranger might be, you could never imagine until reminded by him of the skeleton form and trembling steps you had so recently watched going to the landing, homeward bound. But if, as was too frequently the case, he was sent to convalescent camps, in a few weeks he was returned to hospital, and again to camp, and thus continued to vibrate between camp and hospital until hope and life were gone. This was the fate of thousands.

On a steamer from Cape Girardeau to Helena at table one day when the passengers were dining, among whom were several military officers, I heard a young major of the regular army very coolly remark that it was much cheaper for the government to keep her sick soldiers in hospitals on the river than to furlough them. A lady present quietly replied, “That is true, Major, if all were faithful to the government, but unfortunately a majority of the surgeons in the army have conscientious scruples, and verily believe it to be their duty to keep these sick men alive as long as possible. To be sure, their uneaten rations increased the hospital fund and so enabled your surgeons generously to provide all needed delicacies for the sick, but the pay was drawn by the soldiers from the government all the same. Don’t you think, Sir, it would be a trifle more economical,” continued the lady, “to send these poor fellows north for a few weeks, to regain their strength, that they might return at once to active service?” The laughter of his brother officers prevented my hearing his reply.

This young officer was the medical director at Helena, where I found over two thousand graves of Northeners. Two-thirds of these men might have been saved, could they Pg 237 have been sent north. The surgeon in charge of the general hospital, when asked why he did not furlough some of the men from his over-crowded hospitals, replied that he had at one time and another made out certificates of disability for furlough for nearly every man in his hospital and for hundreds who rested on the nearby hill, but when sent for the signature and approval of the medical director, they had invariably been returned, disapproved; that he had also permitted the men themselves to go with their papers, only to have them severely reproved and ordered back to hospital, and, said he, with tears in his eyes, “many of them never returned, for, broken-hearted, they have lain down by the roadside and died.”

I once heard a person who had been instrumental in giving a dying boy back to his mother, that she might nurse him back to life, relate how it was done. The mother had succeeded in getting her son as far as St. Louis where his papers were to be sent. They came in the usual way to the medical director, were all wrong, of course—not made out according to army regulations and must therefore be returned to his regiment, which was somewhere with Sherman and could not be reached. The mother received the papers with that fearful word “disapproved” written upon them. There was nothing to do but to place her sick son in a St. Louis hospital, and leave him there to die; she must return to her family. She told her story with streaming eyes and a broken heart. The woman impulsively said, “Give me the papers,” and off she went to the medical director’s office. He was a man full six feet high, over fifty years of age, a head like Oliver Cromwell’s, a face stern as fate, and of the regular army. She entered his presence, seated herself, and waited to be spoken to.

Soon it came with, “What do you want?”

“To talk with you a moment, General,” she replied.

“No time for talking.”

“I will wait,” she said.

Pg 238 He wrote a few moments, then said, “May as well hear it now as ever—what is it?”

“I would like to ask you if you had a son in this volunteer service, sent up from the South as far as St. Louis, sick and like to die, and some ignorant, careless officer had made out his furlough papers wrong—”

“What do you want!”

“—would you not be glad, if you were away, if your poor boy could find a friend?”

“What do you want, I say? This is nothing to the purpose.”

“Do you not think that friend ought to do all she could to save your boy?”

“What is all this nonsense?”

“Only this: a poor mother is at the Soldiers’ Home with her dying son. The physicians say he may live if he is sent north, but will surely die if left here. His furlough papers have been sent on, and I have seen them, and know they are wrong. His regiment is with Sherman on the march. Cannot something be done for the boy—for his mother?”

“We have the army regulations, we cannot go behind them. You know if I do, they will rap me over the knuckles at Washington.”

“Oh, that your knuckles were mine. I would be willing to have them skinned; the skin would grow again, you know.”

“Where are these papers?” he said sharply.

“I have them here in my pocket.”

“Let me see them.”

The woman took them slowly out, blank side upwards, and gave them to him. He turned them and his face flushed as he said, “Why I have had these papers and disapproved them. This is my signature.”

She replied tremblingly, “I knew it, but forgive me. I thought maybe when you knew about it, General—and the mother was weeping with the skeleton arms of her boy around Pg 239 her neck—I thought maybe you would do something or tell me something to do.”

“Suppose I do approve these papers, it will do no good. The general in command will stop them and censure me.”

“But you will have done all you could and have obeyed the higher law.”

In the meantime this truly noble man had firmly crossed out his own words and signature, and rewritten under it words of approval, and in a quick, husky tone, said, “Take it and don’t you come here again today.” As the woman raised her eyes to thank him, she saw a scowl on his brow, but a smile on his lips, and a tear in his eye.

“The general in command,” said she in relating the story, “never went behind the medical director’s signature. The boy started for home that night with his mother, full of hope.”

Not long after this an incident occurred showing how easily man yields to the higher law when once he makes humanity his standpoint. An erring boy of nineteen, who had deserted from a Minnesota regiment, changed his name, enlisted in the gunboat service from which he again deserted, again changed his name, and enlisted in a Wisconsin regiment, a little unsteady to be sure, but still a soldier. He was wounded in a battle, honorably discharged from the service, and paid off. On Saturday night he reached St. Louis and found his way to one of her lowest dens, was drugged and robbed of everything he possessed. On Monday he was found tossing from side to side stricken by disease. His surroundings were terrible, and he was lying on an old, filthy mattress which had been thrown into the open hall by the frightened inmates. He was screaming with pain and was at times delirious. As soon, however, as he heard the soothing tones of a human voice, and recognized the hand of kindness on his burning brow, he cried, “Mother! Oh, Mother, forgive me, God forgive me! I have sinned. What shall I do! What shall I do!” Conscience and disease were doing their work.

Pg 240 Softly speaking to him words of comfort and hope, our friend released herself from his grasp, promising to return in half an hour to take him away. This was easier said than done. This soldier was now a citizen, and could not, therefore, be admitted into a military hospital. His disease was of such a nature that in all probability he must die—but his widowed mother, far away, must she know that her darling soldier had died in such a place? God forbid! An order must be had to place him in a military hospital.

The woman goes to her old friend, the medical director, and tells her story in as few words as possible, saying, “General, write an order quick to the surgeon in charge of the Fifth Street hospital, that the boy may be received. I also want an ambulance, mattress, and bedding, and some men to help me move him.”

“Yes, yes, but listen, I have no right, I can’t do it.”

“I know—I know, but please do hurry—I promised to be back in half an hour, and the boy will expect me.”

The general, calling a boy and imitating her voice, said, “Hurry, hurry, boy! Get the best ambulance we have, a good mattress and bedding, and some men and go with Madame and do whatever she bids you to do. Here is the order, what else do you want? Henceforth we do what you wish and no questions asked. It is the easiest way and I guess the only way to get along with you.” The mother mourned her son’s death, but not his disgrace. In after months, this worthy officer by daring to take responsibility performed many acts which will gladden his dying hours.

In this way, one could be snatched from suffering and death now and then, but Oh! the thousands that were beyond the reach of human aid, and the numbers that no private individual power could help—only the great military power! This conviction first led to the thought of providing, if possible, some place where invalids could be sent north, without the trouble of furloughs. The idea of northern military hospitals Pg 241 seemed practicable and so natural that we never once thought the authorities would oppose the movement. For nearly a year this question was agitated and urged with all the force that logic, position, and influence could bring to bear; but all in vain. Hope was well nigh dead within us.

This depression in the South because of the utter failure of the government to provide a way by which the enfeebled soldiers might be restored to strength at last suggested the thought of going directly to the head, to the President. By sending it up by one authority and another, by this officer and that one, we began to feel that the message lost the flavor of truth, and got cold before it reached the deciding power; and because it was so lukewarm he spued it out of his mouth. It is always best if you wish to secure an object, if you have a certain purpose to accomplish, to go at once to the highest power, be your own petitioner, in temporal as in spiritual matters, officiate at your own altar, be your own priest.

I am going to give you another chapter in my own experience, as it was, if I can do so, without the least coloring. There is not a more difficult task than that of relating simple facts in such a manner as to convey an entirely correct impression. The difficulty is increased when the relator is an interested party. I trust I shall not be accused of egotism if I give the exact conversations between Mr. Lincoln and myself, as taken down at the time, for in no other way can I so well picture to you our much loved and martyred president as he then appeared at the White House. As I said before, the necessity for establishing military hospitals in the North had long been a subject of much thought among our people, but it was steadily opposed by the authorities.

By the advice of friends and with an intense feeling that something must be done, I went to Washington. I entered the White House, not with fear and trembling, but strong and self-possessed, fully conscious of the righteousness of my mission. I was received without delay. I had never seen Mr. Pg 242 Lincoln before. He was alone, in a medium sized office-like room, no elegance about him, no elegance in him. He was plainly clad in a suit of black that illy fitted him. No fault of his tailor, however; such a figure could not be fitted. He was tall and lean, and as he sat in a folded up sort of way in a deep arm chair, one would almost have thought him deformed. At his side stood a high writing desk and table combined; plain straw matting covered the floor; a few stuffed chairs and sofa covered with green worsted completed the furniture of the presence chamber of the president of this great republic. When I first saw him his head was bent forward, his chin resting on his breast, and in his hand a letter which I had just sent in to him.

He raised his eyes, saying, “Mrs. Harvey?”

I hastened forward, and replied, “Yes, and I am glad to see you, Mr. Lincoln.” So much for republican presentations and ceremony. The President took my hand, hoped I was well, but there was no smile of welcome on his face. It was rather the stern look of the judge who had decided against me. His face was peculiar; bone, nerve, vein, and muscle were all so plainly seen; deep lines of thought and care were around his mouth and eyes. The word “justice” came into my mind, as though I could read it upon his face—I mean that extended sense of the word that comprehends the practice of every virtue which reason prescribes and society should expect. The debt we owe to God, to man, to ourselves, when paid, is but a simple act of justice, a duty performed. This attribute seemed the source of Mr. Lincoln’s strength. He motioned me to a chair. I sat, and silently read his face while he was reading a paper written by one of our senators, introducing me and my mission. When he had finished reading this he looked up, ran his fingers through his hair, well silvered, though the brown then predominated; his beard was more whitened.

Pg 243 In a moment he looked at me with a good deal of sad severity and said, “Madam, this matter of northern hospitals has been talked of a great deal, and I thought it was settled, but it seems not. What have you got to say about it?”

“Only this, Mr. Lincoln, that many soldiers in our western army on the Mississippi River must have northern air or die. There are thousands of graves all along our southern rivers and in the swamps for which the government is responsible, ignorantly, undoubtedly, but this ignorance must not continue. If you will permit these men to come north you will have ten men where you have one now.”

The president could not see the force or logic in this last argument. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “If your reasoning were correct, it would be a good argument.” I saw that I had misspoken. “I don’t see how,” he continued, “sending one sick man north is going to give us in a year ten well ones.”

A quizzical smile played over his face at my slight embarrassment. “Mr. Lincoln, you understand me, I think. I intended to say, if you will let the sick come north, you will have ten well men in the army one year from today, where you have one well one now; whereas, if you do not let them come north, you will not have one from the ten, for they will all be dead.”

“Yes, yes, I understand you; but if they are sent north, they will desert; where is the difference?”

“Dead men cannot fight,” I answered, “and they may not desert.”

Mr. Lincoln’s eye flashed as he replied, “A fine way, a fine way to decimate the army, we should never get a man of them back, not one, not one.”

“Indeed, but you must pardon me when I say you are mistaken; you do not understand our people. You do not trust them sufficiently. They are as true and as loyal to the government Pg 244 as you say. The loyalty is among the common soldiers and they have ever been the chief sufferers.”

“This is your opinion,” he said with a sort of a sneer. “Mrs. Harvey, how many men do you suppose the government was paying in the Army of the Potomac at the battle of Antietam, and how many men do you suppose could be got for active service at that time? I wish you would give a guess.”

“I know nothing of the Army of the Potomac, only there were some noble sacrifices there. When I spoke of loyalty, I referred to our western army.”

“Well, now, give a guess. How many?”

“I cannot, Mr. President.”

He threw himself around in the chair, one leg over the arm, and again spoke slowly: “This war might have been finished at that time if every man had been in his place that was able to be there, but they were scattered hither and thither over the North, some on furloughs, and in one way or another, gone; so that out of 170,000 men which the government was paying at that time, only 83,000 could be got for action. The consequences, you know, proved nearly disastrous.”

“It was very sad but the delinquents were certainly not in northern hospitals, neither were they deserters therefrom, for there are none. This is, therefore, no argument against them.”

“Well, well, Mrs. Harvey, you go and see the Secretary of War and talk with him and hear what he has to say.” This he said thoughtfully, and took up the letter I had given him, and after writing something on the back of it gave it to me.

“May I return to you, Mr. Lincoln?” I asked.

“Certainly,” he replied, and his voice was gentler than it had been before.

I left him for the war department. I found written on the back of the letter these words, “Admit Mrs. Harvey at once; listen to what she says; she is a lady of intelligence Pg 245 and talks sense. A. Lincoln.” Not, of course, displeased with the introduction, I went on my way to Mr. Stanton, our secretary of war, about whose severity I had heard so much that I must confess I dreaded the interview; but I was kindly received, listened to respectfully, and answered politely. And let me say here, as a passing tribute to this great and good man, that I never knew a clearer brain, a truer heart, a nobler spirit than Edwin M. Stanton. I have watched him by the hour, listening to and deciding questions of minor moment as well as those of greater importance—those upon which the fate of the nation depended, and yet he never wavered. Quick to see the right, he never hesitated to act. His foresight and his strength seemed at times more than human. His place as a statesman will not be filled in this century.

But to return to my interview with him. After understanding the object for which I came, he told me he had sent the Surgeon-General to New Orleans with directions to come up the river and examine all hospitals. In short, I understood he had started on a tour of inspection, which meant nothing at all so far as the suffering was concerned. I told Mr. Stanton, “Our western hospitals have never received any benefit from these inspections, and we have very little confidence that any good would result from them. Any person with discernment, with a medium allowance of common sense and humanity, who is loyal, and has been through our southern river hospitals, knows and feels the necessity for what I ask, and yet you say you have never received a report to this effect. The truth is, the medical authorities know the heads of departments do not wish hospitals established so far away from army lines, and report accordingly. I wish this could be overruled; can nothing be done?”

“Nothing, until the Surgeon-General returns,” Mr. Stanton replied.

“Good morning,” I said, and left him, not at all disappointed.

Pg 246 Returning to Mr. Lincoln, I found it was past the usual hour for receiving and no one was in the waiting-room. The messenger said I had better go directly into the President’s room. It would be more comfortable waiting there, and there was only one gentleman with him and he would soon be through. I found my way to the back part of the room, and seated myself on a sofa in such a position that the desk was between Mr. Lincoln and me. I do not think that he knew I was there. The gentleman with him had given him a paper. The President looked at it carefully and said, “Yes, this is sufficient endorsement for anybody; what do you want?”

I could not hear the reply distinctly, but the promotion of somebody in the army, either a son or a brother, was strongly urged. I heard the words, “I see there are no vacancies among brigadiers, from the fact that so many colonels are commanding brigades.”

At this the President threw himself forward in his chair in such a manner as to show me the most curious, comical face in the world. He was looking the man straight in the eye, with the left hand raised to a horizontal position, and his right hand patting it coaxingly, and said, “My friend, let me tell you something; you are a farmer, I believe; if not, you will understand me. Suppose you had a large cattle yard, full of all sorts of cattle, cows, oxen, and bulls, and you kept selling your cows and oxen, taking good care of your bulls; bye and bye, you would find that you had nothing but a yard full of old bulls, good for nothing under heaven, and it will be just so with my army if I don’t stop making brigadier generals.” The man was answered; he could scarcely laugh, though he tried to do so, but you should have seen Mr. Lincoln laugh—he laughed all over, and fully enjoyed the point if no one else did. The story, if not elegant, was certainly apropos.

As I commenced to tell you everything I remember of this singular man, this must fill its place. The gentleman Pg 247 soon departed, fully satisfied, I doubt not, for it was a saying at Washington when one met a petitioner, “Has Mr. Lincoln told you a story? If he has, it is all day with you. He never says 'yes’ after a story.”

I stepped forward as soon as the door closed. The President motioned to a chair near him. “Well, what did the Secretary of War say?”

I gave a full account of the interview, and then said, “I have nowhere else to go but to you.”

He replied earnestly, “Mr. Stanton knows very well that there is an acting surgeon-general here, and that Hammond will not be back these two months. I will see the Secretary of War myself, and you come in the morning.”

I arose to take leave, when he bade me not to hasten, spoke kindly of my work, said he fully appreciated the spirit in which I came. He smiled pleasantly and bade me good evening.

As I left the White House, I met Owen Lovejoy who greeted me cordially and asked, “How long are you going to stay here?”

“Until I get what I came after,” I replied.

“That’s right, that’s right; go on, I believe in the final perseverance of the saints.”

I have never forgotten these words, perhaps it is because they were the last I ever heard him utter.

I returned in the morning, full of hope, thinking of the pleasant face I had left the evening before, but no smile greeted me. The President was evidently annoyed by something, and waited for me to speak, which I did not do. I afterward learned his annoyance was caused by a woman pleading for the life of a son who was sentenced to be shot for desertion under very aggravating circumstances.

After a moment he said, “Well,” with a peculiar contortion of face I never saw in anybody else.

Pg 248 I replied, “Well,” and he looked at me a little astonished, I fancied, and said, “Have you nothing to say?”

“Nothing, Mr. President, until I hear your decision. You bade me come this morning; have you decided?”

“No, but I believe this idea of northern hospitals is a great humbug, and I am tired of hearing about it.” He spoke impatiently.

I replied, “I regret to add a feather’s weight to your already overwhelming care and responsibility. I would rather have stayed at home.”

With a kind of half smile, he said, “I wish you had.”

I answered him as though he had not smiled. “Nothing would have given me greater pleasure; but a keen sense of duty to this government, justice and mercy to its most loyal supporters, and regard for your honor and position made me come. The people cannot understand why their friends are left to die when with proper care they might live and do good service for their country. Mr. Lincoln, I believe you will be grateful for my coming.” He looked at me intently; I could not tell if he were annoyed or not, and as he did not speak, I continued: “I do not come to plead for the lives of criminals, not for the lives of deserters, not for those who have been in the least disloyal. I come to plead for the lives of those who were the first to hasten to the support of this government, who helped to place you where you are, because they trusted you. Men who have done all they could, and now when flesh, and nerve, and muscle are gone, still pray for your life and the life of this republic. They scarcely ask for that for which I plead—they expect to sacrifice their lives for their country. Many on their cots, faint, sick, and dying, say, 'We would gladly do more, but I suppose that is all right.’ I know that a majority of them would live and be strong men again if they could be sent north. I say I know, because when I was sick among them last spring, surrounded by every comfort, with the best of care, and determined to Pg 249 get well, I grew weaker day by day, until, not being under military law, my friends brought me north. I recovered entirely, simply by breathing northern air.”

While I was speaking the expression of Mr. Lincoln’s face had changed many times. He had never taken his eye from me. Now every muscle in his face seemed to contract, and then suddenly expand. As he opened his mouth you could almost hear them snap as he said, “You assume to know more than I do,” and closed his mouth as though he never expected to open it again, sort of slammed it to.

I could scarcely reply. I was hurt, and thought the tears would come, but rallied in a moment and said, “You must pardon me, Mr. President, I intend no disrespect, but it is because of this knowledge, because I do know what you do not know, that I come to you. If you knew what I do and had not ordered what I ask for, I should know that an appeal to you would be vain; but I believe the people have not trusted you for naught. The question only is whether you believe me or not. If you believe me you will give me hospitals, if not, well--”

With the same snapping of muscle he again said, “You assume to know more than surgeons do.”

“Oh, no! Mr. Lincoln, I could not perform an amputation nearly as well as some of them do; indeed, I do not think I could do it at all. But this is true—I do not come here for your favor, I am not an aspirant for military honor. While it would be the pride of my life to be able to win your respect and confidence, still, this I can waive for the time being. Now the medical authorities know as well as I do that you are opposed to establishing northern military hospitals, and they report to please you; they desire your favor. I come to you from no casual tour of inspection, passing rapidly through the general hospitals, in the principal cities on the river, with a cigar in my mouth and a rattan in my hand, talking to the surgeon in charge of the price of cotton and Pg 250 abusing the generals in our army for not knowing and performing their duty better, and finally coming into the open air, with a long-drawn breath as though just having escaped suffocation, and complacently saying, 'You have a very fine hospital here; the boys seem to be doing very well, a little more attention to ventilation is perhaps desirable.’

“It is not thus; I have visited the hospitals, but from early morning until late at night sometimes. I have visited the regimental and general hospitals on the Mississippi River from Quincy to Vicksburg, and I come to you from the cots of men who have died, who might have lived had you permitted. This is hard to say, but it is none the less true.”

During the time that I had been speaking Mr. Lincoln’s brow had become very much contracted, and a severe scowl had settled over his whole face. He sharply asked how many men Wisconsin had in the field, that is, how many did she send? I replied, “About 50,000, I think, I do not know exactly.”

“That means she has about 20,000 now.” He looked at me, and said, “You need not look so sober, they are not all dead.”

I did not reply. I had noticed the veins in his face filling full within a few moments, and one vein across his forehead was as large as my little finger, and it gave him a frightful look.

Soon, with a quick, impatient movement of his whole frame, he said, “I have a good mind to dismiss every man of them from the service and have no more trouble with them!”

I was surprised at his lack of self-control, and I knew he did not mean one word of what he said, but what would come next? As I looked at him, I was troubled, fearing I had said something wrong. He was very pale.

The silence was painful, and I said as quietly as I could, “They have been faithful to the government; they have been faithful to you; they will still be loyal to the government, Pg 251 do what you will with them; but if you will grant my petition you will be glad as long as you live. The prayer of grateful hearts will give you strength in the hour of trial, and strong and willing arms will return to fight your battles.”

The President bowed his head, and with a look of sadness I can never forget, said, “I never shall be glad any more.” All severity had passed from his face. He seemed looking backward and heartward, and for a moment he seemed to forget he was not alone; a more than mortal anguish rested on his face.

The spell must be broken, so I said, “Do not speak so, Mr. President. Who will have so much reason to rejoice when the government is restored, as it will be?”

“I know, I know,” he said, placing a hand on each side and bowing forward, “but the springs of life are wearing away.”

I asked if he felt his great cares were injuring his health.

“No,” he replied, “not directly, perhaps.”

I asked if he slept well, and he said he never was a good sleeper, and, of course, slept less now than ever before. He said the people did not yet appreciate the magnitude of this rebellion, and that it would be a long time before the end.

I began to feel I was occupying time valuable to him and belonging to him. As I arose to take leave, I said, “Have you decided upon your answer to the object of my visit?”

He replied, “No. Come tomorrow morning. No, it is [cabinet] meeting tomorrow—yes, come tomorrow at twelve o’clock, there is not much for the cabinet to do tomorrow.” He arose and bade me a cordial goodmorning.

The next morning I arose with a terribly depressed feeling that perhaps I was to fail in the object for which I came. I found myself constantly looking at my watch and wondering if twelve o’clock would ever come. At last I ascended the steps of the White House as all visitors were being dismissed, because the President would receive no one on that Pg 252 day. I asked the messenger if that meant me, and he said, “No. The President desires you to wait for the cabinet will soon adjourn.” I waited, and waited, and waited, three long hours and more, during which time the President sent out twice, saying the cabinet would soon adjourn, that I was to wait. I was fully prepared for defeat, and every word of my reply was chosen and carefully placed. I walked the rooms and studied an immense map that covered one side of the reception room. I listened, and at last heard many footsteps—the cabinet had adjourned. Mr. Lincoln did not wait to send for me but came directly into the room where I was. It was the first time I had noticed him standing. He was very tall and moved with a shuffling, awkward motion.

He came forward, rubbing his hands, and saying, “My dear Madam, I am very sorry to have kept you waiting. We have but this moment adjourned.”

I replied, “My waiting is no matter, but you must be very tired, and we will not talk tonight.”

He said, “No. Sit down,” and placed himself in a chair beside me, and said, “Mrs. Harvey, I only wish to tell you that an order equivalent to granting a hospital in your state has been issued nearly twenty-four hours.”

I could not speak, I was so entirely unprepared for it. I wept for joy, I could not help it. When I could speak I said, “God bless you. I thank you in the name of thousands who will bless you for the act.” Then, remembering how many orders had been issued and countermanded, I said, “Do you mean, really and truly, that we are going to have a hospital now?”

With a look full of humanity and benevolence, he said, “I do most certainly hope so.” He spoke very emphatically, and no reference was made to any previous opposition. He said he wished me to come and see him in the morning and he would give me a copy of the order.

Pg 253 I was so much agitated I could not talk with him. He noticed it and commenced talking upon other subjects. He asked me to look at the map before referred to, which, he said, gave a very correct idea of the locality of the principal battle grounds of Europe. “It is a fine map,” he said, pointing out Waterloo and the different battle fields of the Crimea, then, smiling, said, “I am afraid you will not like it as well when I tell you whose work it is.”

I replied, “It is well done, whosever it may be. Who did it, Mr. Lincoln?”

“McClellan, and he certainly did do this well. He did it while he was at West Point.” There was nothing said for awhile. Perhaps he was balancing in his own mind the two words which were then agitating the heart of the American people, words which have ever throbbed the great heart of nations, words whose power every individual has recognized—“success,” and “failure.”

I left shortly after with the promise to call next morning, as he desired me to do, at nine o’clock. I suppose the excitement caused the intense suffering of that night. I was very ill and it was ten o’clock the next morning before I was able to send for a carriage to keep my appointment with the President. It was past the hour; more than fifty persons were in the waiting room. I did not expect an audience, but sent in my name and said I would call again. The messenger said, “Do not go, I think the President will see you now.”

I had been but a moment among anxious, expectant, waiting faces, when the door opened and the voice said, “Mrs. Harvey, the President will see you now.” I arose, not a little embarrassed to be gazed at so curiously by so many with a look that said as plainly as words could, “Who are you?” As I passed the crowd, one person said, “She has been here every day, and what is more, she is going to win.”

Pg 254 I entered the presence of Mr. Lincoln for the last time. He smiled very graciously and drew a chair near him, and said, “Come here and sit down.” He had a paper in his hand which he said was for me to keep. It was a copy of the order just issued. I thanked him, not only for the order but for the manner and spirit in which it had been given, then said I must apologize for not having been there at nine o’clock as he desired me to be, but that I had been sick all night.

He looked up with, “Did joy make you sick?”

I said, “I don’t know, very likely it was the relaxation of nerve after intense excitement.”

Still looking at me he said, “I suppose you would have been mad if I had said no?”

I replied, “No, Mr. Lincoln, I should have been neither angry nor sick.”

“What would you have done?” he asked curiously. “I should have been here at nine o’clock, Mr. President.”

“Well,” he laughingly said, “I think I acted wisely, then,” and suddenly looking up, “Don’t you ever get angry?” he asked, “I know a little woman not very unlike you who gets mad sometimes.”

I replied, “I never get angry when I have an object to gain of the importance of the one under consideration; to get angry, you know, would only weaken my cause, and destroy my influence.”

“That is true, that is true,” he said, decidedly. “This hospital I shall name for you.”

I said, “No, but if you would not consider the request indelicate, I would like to have it named for Mr. Harvey.”

“Yes, just as well, it shall be so understood if you prefer it. I honored your husband, and felt his loss, and now let us have this matter settled at once.”

He took a card and wrote a few words upon it, requesting the Secretary of War to name the hospital “Harvey Hospital,” in memory of my husband, and to gratify me he gave Pg 255 me the card, saying, “Now do you take that directly to the Secretary of War and have it understood.” I thanked him, but did not take it to Mr. Stanton. The hospital was already named. I expressed a wish that he might never regret his present action, and said I was sorry to have taken so much of his time.

“Oh, no, you need not be,” he said kindly.

“You will not wish to see me again, Mr. President.”

“I didn’t say that and shall not.”

I said, “You have been very kind to me and I am grateful for it.”

He looked at me from under his eyebrows and said, “You almost think me handsome, don’t you?”

His face then beamed with such kind benevolence and was lighted by such a pleasant smile that I looked at him, and with my usual impulse, said, clasping my hands together, “You are perfectly lovely to me, now, Mr. Lincoln.” He colored a little and laughed most heartily.

As I arose to go, he reached out his hand, that hand in which there was so much power and so little beauty, and held mine clasped and covered in his own. I bowed my head and pressed my lips most reverently upon the sacred shield, even as I would upon my country’s shrine. A silent prayer went up from my heart, “God bless you, Abraham Lincoln.” I heard him say goodbye, and I was gone. Thus ended the most interesting interview of my life with one of the most remarkable men of the age.

My impressions of him had been so varied, his character had assumed so many different phases, his very looks had changed so frequently and so entirely, that it almost seemed to me I had been conversing with half a dozen different men. He blended in his character the most yielding flexibility with the most unflinching firmness, child-like simplicity and weakness with statesmanlike wisdom and masterly strength, but over and around all was thrown the mantle of an unquestioned integrity.

Pg 256


By Sipko F. Rederus

Dutch settlements have never been numerous in America or in any other country not flying the Dutch flag. The Hollanders, unlike their German and British neighbors, have no natural inclination to roaming and adventure; and being strongly attached to their native soil they have preferred attempting to improve conditions at home to hazarding their fortune in a foreign country. This love of country has changed the Netherlands from a boggy land to a beautiful, productive country with an intelligent, industrious, and artistic people now numbering about six millions.

Unusual conditions, political, economic, and religious, have, however, from time to time caused Hollanders to emigrate to foreign lands, and during the decade 1840-50 many set sail for the United States. After the fall of Napoleon the Netherlands had changed from a republican to a limited monarchical form of government. Belgium reunited with Holland under the name of Kingdom of Netherlands, with William I, son of the former Dutch stadtholder, as king. The union was not successful, and the rebellion of 1830, which resulted in the separation of Holland and Belgium, necessitated large armies which William I kept up for years in the hope of reconquering Belgium. Then in 1825 an inundation of the ocean swept away the dikes, devastated the land, and left thousands homeless and without resources. With the abdication of William I and the accession of his son, William II, conditions did not improve. War and flood turned the thoughts of the suffering lower and middle classes to emigration, and the period from 1840 to 1850 saw the great exodus of Dutch to America.

Illustration: PETER DAAN

Pioneer Dutch Settler in Oostburg, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

Pg 257 Religious difficulties arising at this time also caused the emigration of several distinct groups. With the separation of Holland from Spain came separation from the civil and religious rule of the Catholic Church and the adoption of the Reformed Church by the State. The Dutch Reformed Church was Calvinistic in doctrine and Presbyterian in government. German philosophy and French liberalism gradually influenced the lives of members of the State Church; and the monarch and other governmental officers being friendly toward the new thought, the church synods permitted certain changes in the service and doctrine. Again and again the orthodox party tried to overthrow the new order, and after many failures in such attempts left the established church to form a separate ecclesiastical body called the Free Separate Reformed Church.

The civil government, fearing that civil revolution would follow this religious upheaval, opposed the new church, forbade meetings, and fined ministers. With the accession of William II the organization was recognized as a corporate body, but many restrictions were imposed upon it and financial aid, granted other denominations, was refused it. A large number of the Separatists gladly accepted the terms imposed, but others, smarting under the restrictions and foreseeing no relief in the near future, resolved to emigrate to America.

Three separate parties, each under a prominent minister, were formed for the purpose of founding settlements in the United States. Rev. R. C. Van Raalte led his people to the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, where they founded settlements which later came to be among the prosperous communities of Michigan. Among them are Holland, where Hope College was founded, Grand Haven, Muskegon, and Grand Rapids.

Under Rev. H. P. Scholte a party of Dutch immigrants went to southern Iowa and settled a large tract of land Pg 258 purchased from the government. The city of Pella, where Central College is located, is the center of a number of communities, all of which have prosperous industries and beautiful churches of the Reformed faith.

The party led by Rev. P. Zonne secured by purchase from the government a section of country bordering on Lake Michigan, some twenty miles south of the present city of Sheboygan. The settlers arrived in the spring of 1847 after a stormy voyage across the Atlantic, making the journey inland by way of the Hudson River, Erie Canal, and Great Lakes. In settling this region the Zonne party had been preceded by other Dutch families. In 1844 Lawrence Zuvelt and his family settled in a locality four and one-half miles northwest of what later became the Zonne settlement, and in 1846 they were joined by G. H. Koltsée and John Boland and their families.

A tragic event marked the growth of this settlement. In 1848 the Mayflower, filled with immigrants to Wisconsin, including many Hollanders, had proceeded as far as Sheboygan when fire was discovered. When, in spite of the crew’s efforts, the flames seemed to be gaining headway, a panic ensued, and many lost their lives in the fire or in the water. Others were landed in pitiful condition on the shores of Wisconsin. Three Hollanders, Wilterdenk, Oonk, and Rensink by name, were among those rescued. Wilterdenk had lost his wife and six children in the catastrophe.

The Zonne community rapidly overtook the earlier settlement in size and development. Cedar Grove was the name given it by Reverend Zonne, because cedar formed the greatest part of the forest near by, in portions of which the Indians still lived. The land was ideal for the painter, poet, and hunter, but the matter-of-fact Hollanders, though belonging to a race which had produced great artists, writers, and explorers, had not come to dream, paint pictures, or follow the chase. The land was valued by the settlers as a Pg 259 means of material improvement; the forest was an obstacle and had to be removed. The work of destruction went on systematically from season to season, and in a short time large clearings could be seen on which were planted maize, wheat, and barley. All of these grains gave rich return, for the soil was fertile and not easily exhausted.

Clearing the ground for the first crop, however, was a difficult process. How to remove the trees after they had been felled with such difficulty was a problem. The settlers could not use all the wood for fuel nor could they convert the tree trunks into lumber. To dispose of the superabundance of wood, these pioneer farmers had to set it on fire, being careful to remove the immense pile to a safe distance from the forest and from the buildings already erected. The hardwood tree stumps remaining in the fields after the trees had been cut were a great obstacle to cultivation of the ground. Digging the stumps out of the field was a long process, and explosives or machinery for doing this work were not then available.

The forest, however, was a help as well as a hindrance. From the logs were made houses and barns, agricultural implements, wagons, and, to some extent, furniture. The forest possessed an abundance of game, wild blackberries, strawberries, wild grapes, and maple trees from which the settlers secured their sugar. Autumn brought a harvest of hickorynuts and walnuts. Cattle thrived in the woodland, and in certain parts flocks of sheep could be kept. From the wool the housewife knitted stockings and wove the homespun for the family clothing.

Communication with other settlements was extremely difficult. For many years the Indian trails and the pathways blazed by the settlers were the only roads, tortuous at all times but almost impassable in winter. The principal trading posts, such as Port Washington and Milwaukee, were far distant from the Zonne settlement—Milwaukee being forty-five Pg 260 miles away—and under the best circumstances the slow-moving oxen made a long journey of it. Often the wagons broke down in the middle of the forest and the men would have to leave their loads in the road and go back home or to the trading post ahead for assistance. The lack of communication was felt most during sickness and especially epidemics, for many a time the physician, after a long, hard journey, would arrive to find his patient dead or beyond help.

Such were the difficulties with which these Dutch pioneers contended during the first years of their colonization. Their energy and perseverance, however, defeated one after another. Gradually the farms were cleared, the newly established sawmills turned out lumber for better houses and barns; water power was utilized for the running of flour mills; and stores were established within easy distance. Artisans joined the settlements, although blacksmiths had been found among the original settlers. As the forest gradually disappeared, old trails were widened, roads were laid out, villages sprang up, and post offices were established.

But in the midst of their growing prosperity the black war cloud gathered on the southern horizon and cast its shadows over this peaceful community. Many of the men, whose fathers had obtained liberty after eighty years of conflict, were aroused, and leaving their plows took up the musket. Sad times now followed, for now and then the news reached the settlement that some son or father had died in battle; but after the years of sorrow the laureled heroes returned to their firesides and a greater prosperity dawned.

One of the men who was conspicuous in the conflict and even more so in the days of peace that followed was Peter Daan. He was born in the Netherlands, in the town of Westkapelle, Province of Zeeland, March 26, 1835. When he was seven years of age his parents emigrated to America and settled in the town of Pultneyville, New York. Later the family moved to Wisconsin and bought a farm in Sheboygan Pg 261 County, near the present village of Oostburg. Peter Daan was one of the first to volunteer on the outbreak of the war, and through his influence and effort caused many to follow his example. In 1867 he commenced his mercantile business on the Sauk Trail, two and one-half miles east of Oostburg. As that town developed, he moved his business there, built a large store, an elevator, a steam flour mill, and later founded the bank of which he became president. He held that office until his death. The people, having confidence in his ability and good judgment, several times elected him president of the town. For years he held the office of justice of the peace, and because of his amicable manner of settling disputes he won the title among the people of “the peacemaker.”

As a young man he became a member of the Presbyterian Church, and later was made an elder, an office which he held until he died. Several times his presbytery elected him delegate to the higher ecclesiastical councils. In 1873 he was chosen a member of the Wisconsin legislative assembly. His death occurred June 14, 1914.

After the Civil War the settlements entered a period of prosperity greater than any experienced before; in fact many of the farmers, receiving high prices for their products during the war, laid the foundation of their wealth in this period. The villages of Oostburg and Cedar Grove expanded, and the new town of Gibbsville was founded three miles west of Oostburg. There a large flour mill, driven by water power, was built, and remains in operation to this day. East of Cedar Grove, on the lake shore, was built a pier where the great vessels could land. The settlement of Amsterdam, which developed here, became an important trading place for a time but was abandoned when the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad entered the territory. Oostburg and Cedar Grove, in both of which stations were erected, received the benefit of the improved communication. Grain elevators and business houses of all kinds were erected, and residences Pg 262 increased and improved. In the country better farmhouses and more spacious barns rapidly replaced the primitive log buildings. The acreage of land cleared, fenced in, and cultivated, increased, and the herds of cattle and flocks of sheep became more numerous. Along the lake shore a profitable fishing industry was developed. Everywhere the result of hard work and thrift was seen. Luctor et emergo (I struggle and rise higher), the motto of the Province of Zeeland from which these Dutch settlers had come, represented the achievements of these people as well as those of their sturdy ancestors.

In the midst of their hard struggle for material improvement these people had not been neglectful of religious matters. Upon their arrival, under the leadership of Reverend Zonne they had organized themselves into a church and united with the Presbyterian organization. In the following year, 1848, Reverend Zonne built a house of worship on his own estate and gave it to his congregation. This church, built about a mile north of the present site of Cedar Grove, was the first of the Presbyterian denomination in that region. In the course of time another house of worship was built in the settlement later known as Cedar Grove by those who were not in harmony with Reverend Zonne. This congregation united with the old Dutch Reformed Church of America, founded in New Amsterdam (now New York) in the eighteenth century. This is the oldest and wealthiest (in proportion to size) of all ecclesiastical bodies in America.

In 1853 another Presbyterian church was built four and one-half miles north of Cedar Grove on the Sauk Trail. Reverend Van de Schurn was the first pastor and Peter Daan the first elder. This church with its large membership is flourishing today under the pastorate of Rev. C. Van Griethuizen. A Dutch Reformed church was later established at the same place, and others of the same denomination were Pg 263 erected in the settlement later becoming the village of Oostburg, and in Gibbsville.

All these churches were in the beginning unpretentious log structures; but as the people began to amass wealth, the old churches were replaced by substantial, attractive buildings surmounted by spires or towers for the church bells. Comfortable residences for the pastors have been erected on the church premises. All the congregations are flourishing today; and although they profess far more liberal views than their ancestors, the descendants of the early pioneers are equally devoted to these institutions.

Of all these churches, the one founded by Reverend Zonne has always been the most prominent, not only because it has the largest membership but because it possesses greater historic associations. The second edifice of this organization, a plain frame building without a tower, was replaced in 1882 by a much larger and more attractive building, the gift of a pioneer member, J. Lammers. The church is a picturesque landmark whose spire can be seen for miles. The interior has been considerably improved of late, and a pipe organ has recently been installed. An old churchyard is at one side of the church, and here lie the remains of the Reverend Zonne and many other early worthies of the church.

The organization has always had a prosperous record, but its greatest growth began in 1882 when Rev. J. J. W. Roth began his pastorate of more than thirty-two years. Reverend Roth was born in Capetown, South Africa. There he received his collegiate training; and, later coming to America with his father, he studied theology at the McCormick Institute at Chicago, where he was graduated and ordained in 1878. After serving two small churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Cedar Grove. During the first year of his ministry the present church was built, and under his pastorate the congregation became strong and prosperous. Since the young people had Pg 264 become deficient in the language of their fathers, the introduction of English into the services had become a necessity. Dr. Roth, educated to both languages, preached to his people in both tongues. On May 1, 1914, Dr. Roth was stricken by apoplexy and remained unconscious for some days. Although he recovered consciousness, he lost the power of speech and the use of his limbs, and was compelled to end his active services. Since his illness he has lived in retirement in Cedar Grove.

Dr. Roth is a man of scholarly attainment, being proficient in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, and an artist of some ability. The church societies, all of which he founded, are in a flourishing condition. He was for years the leading man in the Milwaukee presbytery, and was several times elected its moderator and delegate to higher ecclesiastical councils. He has been succeeded by Rev. P. Van Straten.

During the past twenty years the growth of the Dutch settlements has been remarkable. The village of Cedar Grove has grown into a thriving town with many prosperous business houses, grain elevators, and factories. It has a large public school, and a classical academy which is conducted by the Dutch Reformed Church of America. The bank of Cedar Grove is a flourishing institution founded some ten years ago. The deposits are over $300,000.

The village of Oostburg has likewise prospered. Peter Daan’s flour mill has been enlarged; implement, canning, cheese, and condensed milk factories have been built. Oostburg and Cedar Grove are connected with each other, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee by the hourly service of the Milwaukee Northern Electric Railway. Returns from the planting of wheat, to which the farmers had devoted their principal attention had gradually decreased, and barley and rye are being substituted, also peas and beans which are sold to the canning factories. Many of the farmers, however, have turned to cattle raising, dairying, and cheese making as principal Pg 265 agricultural enterprises. In the making of cheese the Hollanders of Sheboygan County are recognized as experts and their brands are among the best in the state.

Always interested in intellectual progress, the Dutch settlers have built and supported excellent schools, and many are sending their sons and daughters to colleges. Materially these people have prospered since the first band of settlers began to hew down the forest in 1847. The thoroughness with which they did cut down all timber is being regretted at present by those who possess land bare of all but a few trees. This generation, however, is planting trees which, it is hoped, will soon remedy that great defect.

In customs and manner of thinking the new generation differs greatly from the pioneers who started to develop the country. Their language is fast disappearing in public and in the homes, for only in the church is Dutch even partly used. This may be due to the similarity between the Dutch and the Anglo-Saxon languages which have a common factor in the Fresian tongue.

The similarity of tongues and, in addition, of the political, religious, and economic struggles of the Dutch and the English settlers in America has caused the Dutch to be readily absorbed into the earlier population. The special characteristics, in addition to those common to both English and Dutch, make the Dutch element one of the most valuable in the state of Wisconsin.

Pg 266


By Lucius G. Fisher

Edited by Milo M. Quaife

The first of January, 1837, I arranged with the Fairbanks to leave them and locate in either Louisville or St. Louis, and sell their scales and other goods manufactured by them at Pittsburgh, on commission. I returned to Derby and remained there until May, visiting my sister Emeline then teaching in Montreal. I left Derby the fifteenth of May for the South, leaving a few hundred dollars with the Fairbanks and taking some thousands in notes belonging to them to collect between Pg 267 Burlington, Vermont, and Buffalo, New York, and from which collections when made I was to take the money due me and remit to them the balance. I left with my father a fine span of horses, harness, and wagon with which to follow me with my sisters when I should get a home for them. My sister Rosetta had been lame for a year and was under the care of a physician and surgeon. I left home and friends with a sad heart, taking the stage for Burlington, my two most intimate friends riding the first mile with me. One was Stoddart B. Colby, who was afterwards the leading lawyer of Vermont and who died Register of the United States currency and whose wife was burned on the Swallow in the Hudson River; the other, Timothy P. Redfield, now one of the judges of the supreme court of Vermont and brother of my other very dear and most intimate friend, Fletcher Redfield, for many years Chief Justice of Vermont. I have never met either of them since. I had to get out of the stage the first day to steady it over snow drifts.

I reached Troy, New York, the third day and that evening the news came there that the banks had suspended specie payment in consequence of General Jackson’s order to the United States treasurer to remove the United States deposits from the United States Bank to the Sub-Treasury. All banks suspended specie redemption and for the time no paper money was current or debts paid. All confidence was destroyed between business men, and such a financial panic was never seen before or since in our country. When I reached Buffalo I had not collected a cent from $27,000 in notes against the best business men on the line of the Erie Canal. In Buffalo I collected in bank bills $70. Here I was with but little money and all business prostrated. I could not see in prospect a time when I could hope to engage in the commission business with success. I had nothing in Vermont to return to. I was lonely and desolate. Young men were being Pg 268 discharged from stores and factories in great numbers, and business men were failing everywhere.

I met at Buffalo a discharged clerk from a house in New York who was a native of Vermont, and was seeking employment. Neither of us knew what to do or where to go. We had been living at the Mansion House several days and on one Sunday morning we walked down to the wharf and saw a schooner there with her captain on her deck. I asked him if he was the captain and where he was bound. He said he was the captain, that he was bound to Chicago, that his schooner was a new one, etc. I asked the price of fare in cabin with board to Chicago. He replied $20. I turned to my friend Whitcombe and said, “Let us go to Chicago; we may as well go to one place as another.” He replied, “I will go with you.” I asked the captain when he sailed. He said, “At nine o’clock tomorrow A. M. if the wind is fair.” I said, “Book us as passengers and we will be on board in season.” We sailed June second. No steamboats had sailed for the upper lakes then, nor until some days later. There was no railroad west of Syracuse. The harbor was full of ice. Before leaving Buffalo, I arranged with a merchant who knew me and who was from Vermont (the father of Frank Fenton of Beloit) to furnish me with provisions if on my arrival at Chicago I should find any sale for them. We were four weeks and two days on the lakes, with head winds and rough weather most of the time. Captain Clement was a very agreeable gentleman, young like his passengers, and very social. Our voyage was so much enjoyed by me as to have left the most pleasant memories of it, although it was an aimless one. We were drifting into the dark future without any plans, yet we were happy, full of life, had that self-reliance on our own strength and mental endowments that took away all anxiety for the future, and enabled us to enjoy the present. The feeling was a desperate, devil-may-care one. As I look back upon the first year of my western life, I wonder that I did not Pg 269 become a reckless and ruined man. Captain Clement was, after this trip, a large owner of steamboats on the lakes, some of which he commanded; and for several years he has been the treasurer of the North Chicago Rolling Mills and a large stockholder. He landed us in Chicago the night of the third of July, 1837, and we celebrated the Fourth there. Daniel Webster was in Chicago for the first and last time in his life.

A delegation from Milwaukee came to Chicago to invite Webster to visit their city. He had left for the East, and I, finding no encouragement to go into business in Chicago, took passage in an old steamer with this delegation to Milwaukee.


In May, 1837, about a month before my arrival, Chicago had elected its first mayor, William B. Ogden. Its population was about 3,000 and was mostly north of the river. There was a Presbyterian church where the Board of Trade stands, in which Rev. Jeremiah Porter preached. The Russell House on the North Side was the grand hotel, built of brick. The Couch brothers had a small hotel on the present site of the Tremont House of the same name, and the City Hotel was built on the corner of State and Lake Streets. There were few buildings south of Lake Street. There was a cornfield running south from Washington Street and east of State Street. Lots were worth from $100 to $500 then, but had been worth as many thousands before the panic of 1837. John Wentworth had just started his paper, the Chicago Democrat, in a little 7 × 9 wooden building on La Salle Street north of Randolph.[98] I had a letter of introduction to him and there made his acquaintance. The first settler, Gurdon S. Hubbard,[99] was here, William H. Brown, and many other Pg 270 persons with whom I became acquainted, but most of whom have passed away. Some are here yet, and among them G. S. Hubbard & Son, S. B. Cobb, Jerome Beecher, and Mr. Carpenter. Chicago has now a population of 600,000.

I landed in Milwaukee the sixth of July, 1837. The boat could not land and we were sent ashore in the small boat, at the mouth of the river, then at Chase’s Point,[100] one mile below the present mouth. My friend, Ed Whitcombe, was yet with me and on the boat I made the acquaintance of John H. Tweedy[101] and formed a friendship which has endured the changes of the last forty-five years. He afterwards married a Fisher from Boston, who descended from the same ancestor that I did. I found Milwaukee with a population of about 1,000, the west side of the river mostly under water, many of the houses built on stilts, abandoned, and doors open, most of the population of 1836 having left the place by reason of the panic. I remember the Frenchman and first settler with a squaw wife was there.[102] I stopped at first at the Milwaukee Hotel, but soon crossed the river to the Leland House where I found my cousin, Dr. L. J. Barber, and remained with him at that house. We had not met since we were lads. We soon became warm friends. I had but little money and several young men boarding at the Leland House had often to borrow of me to pay for their week’s washing. All had been Pg 271 speculating in lots and were broke. None of us knew what to do or where to go.

I remained about a week and decided to cross the country to Galena and go to mining for lead. I started in company with two men, one by the name of Frink and the other Blood. We traveled the first day to Waukesha where was the first house, occupied by a Mr. Pratt.[103] It was small, built of logs, and two berths on one side. The under one was occupied by Pratt and wife, the upper one by Frink and me, and Blood slept on the floor. The next day we lunched at the second house from Milwaukee, at Pewaukee Lake, kept by Harrison Reed,[104] afterwards governor of Florida. We reached Oconomowoc that night, where we found two bachelors in a log shanty with a floor of bark and nothing to eat but dry beans, which they stewed for us and which we ate with a relish from a bark plate with a chip for a knife. The mosquitoes were very large and hungry and feasted upon us that night. We slept but little and left early in the morning on our Indian trail for Rock River, having learned that there was a camp there where we could get food. My feet had become very sore, and the morning’s walk of twelve miles in the rain without food, and almost gored to death by the mosquitoes, had so exhausted me that I was sick and could go no farther. Fortunately, at the river I found Charles Goodhue, Esq., and two of his sons from Sherbrooke, Lower Canada, an old acquaintance in the East, who had a fine camp and ten or twelve men and three women in camp. They bade me welcome and gave me to eat and to drink—the best they had and Pg 272 I was never happier than that day. I was soon refreshed and ready to travel again. Mr. Goodhue and sons had commenced building a dam across Rock River, and afterwards a saw mill was built to cut basswood lumber to raft down the river where new settlements were being made.

I remained with Mr. Goodhue and sons a few days and was persuaded by them to visit what was then called New Albany (now Beloit) before going to Galena, they representing it as a very desirable point for a town and offering me an interest in claims which they had recently purchased there. I accepted the proposition to visit Beloit. There was a large encampment of Indians on the opposite side of Rock River from our camp, of whom we purchased a large canoe, giving them $5 and a gallon of whisky. In it Mr. Goodhue and son George, Mr. Blood, Mr. Frink, and myself embarked for Beloit. Goodhue and I owned the canoe and Frink and Blood worked their passage. The river was very high and we went to Fort Atkinson the first half day and lodged that night with Alvin Foster in a log house, the only house there.[105] It had but one room of moderate size in which were domiciled that night Foster and his wife, mother, and niece, and seven travelers. The next day we reached Koshkonong Lake before 10 A. M., and the wind being high we divided, Messrs. Goodhue, Frink, and Blood going by land around the lake, while George Goodhue and I kept the boat, preferring our chances to drown to the tramp by land of six miles on a hot day over a marsh of some miles. We were to meet at the outlet of the lake. We in the boat had a rough voyage, bailing water part of the way to prevent foundering, and on our Pg 273 arrival at the outlet found none of our party and after waiting some hours we went on and just after dark we met them on the river bank about ten miles below the lake, muddy and tired. We took them [in] and soon reached Janesville, a village of three families, viz., Messrs. Bailey, Stevens, and Janes.[106] We remained there over night and next morning by 10 A. M. reached Beloit, where there was one family.

It was Sunday morning, the fifteenth of July, 1837. I found Caleb Blodgett[107] and family there in a log house and we slept upon the floor two nights while there, in the only house except a log hut which had just been vacated by an Indian trader, by name Thibault, whose wife was a squaw. The first day, Sunday, I took a walk up where the College now stands and on to the banks of Turtle Creek where I saw many Indian mounds, some of them still preserved and where I had an uninterrupted view of prairie such as I had never had before. I said to my friend with me that it was the most beautiful landscape view that I had ever seen. Quite a number of Indian wigwams were standing upon the prairie near the creek and hurdles for drying their corn, which had been raised for years upon the Turtle bottoms.

Pg 274 Beloit had been named by Blodgett “New Albany.” He with a large family of sons had located there in 1836 and built their house that fall and had claimed some three miles square by ploughing a furrow around and putting up several shanties. The Government was surveying the land; and as it was not in the market, no title could be obtained except a so-called squatter’s title, which was obtained by a settlement upon the land and which gave the settler the right to preëmpt 160 acres when it came into market. In February, 1837, Dr. Horace White visited Beloit as the agent of a New England company from Colebrook, New Hampshire, that had sent him out to select a home for them in the new West. He left Colebrook in January in company with R. P. Crane and O. P. Bicknell, who stopped in Michigan while White continued west exploring the Rock River valley and the valley of the Des Moines River, all then in the territory of Wisconsin. At Beloit he found Blodgett and sons (six of them) and John Hackett, a son-in-law, and being pleased with the place, he purchased one-third of all the interest or claims of Blodgett and sons, the interests being undivided. Blodgett had before bought Thibault’s interest for $500, who with his squaw removed to Koshkonong Lake, where I saw them both on my first voyage down the river and on a subsequent one in September. The following winter he was murdered by his squaw and her family.

The following are the names of the colony for whom White acted: Horace White, Otis Bicknell, George W. and Charles Bicknell, their father, Captain Bicknell, R. P. Crane, Messrs. Beach, Eames, and Alfred Field, and Israel Cheney, and one other whose name I forget, but who never came west.[108] In March, White returned east and O. P. Bicknell Pg 275 and Crane came to Beloit and built a shanty and occupied it. That spring a Major Johnson from Newburg, Vermont, and John Doolittle from Holley, Lower Canada, had reached Beloit and purchased 212ths of Blodgett’s claims and lived in the Thibault shanty. Charles Goodhue from Sherbrooke, Lower Canada, and his brother-in-law, Tyler H. Moore, had purchased 312ths before and had begun the race and a saw mill on Turtle Creek when I reached the place. The interests were as follows then: Blodgett and sons 312ths, New England Company (so-called) 412ths, Goodhue and Moore 312ths, Johnson & Doolittle 212ths. I found there Blodgett and sons, Johnson & Doolittle, Cyrus Eames, Bicknell & Crane. The lower bench of Beloit or between the bluff and river was still covered by heavy timber and underbrush, but little having been removed. The owners had broken some acres on the bottoms and were breaking 160 acres where Slaymaker now resides and 100 acres on the high ground south of him. On Monday after my arrival I purchased of Goodhue and Moore one-fourth of their interest for $400 and I paid for my share of the ploughing which was to be cultivated in common until a division of claims was made. I did not expect to locate there but bought on speculation.

On Tuesday, the seventeenth, I embarked in our canoe with Mr. Goodhue and son George, Mr. Frink, and Mr. Eames for Rockford, leaving Mr. Blood there. We remained at Rockford over night at the log hotel of Mr. Miller. There were several families there. Mr. Goodhue’s son Charles met us there with his team and took us to Belvedere where he had a little store and where half a dozen families had settled. It was called Squaw Prairie and a Mr. Doty kept a hotel or tavern. We left our canoe to the citizens of Rockford. After a night’s rest at Belvidere, Frink, Eames, and I started on foot for Chicago, stopping the first night at Spencer’s Grove. The next day I was quite sick and reached Tyler & Raustead’s house, four miles west of Elgin, about six P. M., and Pg 276 was so sick that I felt that I could go no farther and proposed to stay over night, but they would not keep me, fearing that I should be too sick to leave in the morning. They reluctantly gave me a cup of tea and I moved on, being virtually dragged by the arms the four miles by Messrs. Frink and Doolittle.

Here let me correct a mistake in dates and facts. Cyrus Eames was not at Beloit at this time, and it was not Eames who left Beloit in the boat with us, but John Doolittle, who returned to Canada with Mr. Goodhue at this time. We reached Elgin after dark, where I learned that I had an aunt and her husband and three children living four miles above Elgin on Fox River, and in the morning I parted with Frink, who started for Ottawa, and I hired Mr. Kimball, the landlord, to take me in a wagon to my Aunt Tyler’s, I being yet a sick man. Elgin had about ten families. I found my aunt and husband with three sons on a farm of 400 acres which George Tyler had squatted upon in 1835 and before the government survey. Aunt Tyler was the youngest sister of my mother, and married Noah Tyler of Claremont, New Hampshire, about 1803 and by him had eight children, four sons and four daughters. The family became Catholics and the four daughters became abbesses or superiors. The oldest son, George, went in early life to Georgia and emigrated from the South to this state and sent for his father, mother, and two brothers, who came to him. He married here at the age of fifty and is now a resident of Texas. The second son, William, died Catholic bishop of Rhode Island and Connecticut, in 1854, I think. The third son died at Dundee and the youngest is living at Elgin and has a large family of nine children. His name is Calvin. He was educated for the Catholic priesthood. One daughter, Sallie, is living in Detroit at the head of a Catholic nunnery.


From a daguerreotype in the possession of the Fisher family

My good aunt nursed me well and in three days I was quite well and was sent for by Mr. Goodhue to meet him at Elgin, which I did and he took me to Chicago with his team. Pg 277 For miles before we reached Chicago the prairie was on an average one foot under water. I remained but a day or two in Chicago, stopping at the Tremont House. I took an old steamer back to Milwaukee. I boarded at the Leland House on the west side until September, when I started again for Beloit by way of Watertown and was accompanied by a young man by the name of Sanborn, who was or had been a medical student but had come west to seek his fortune. (He afterwards returned to New England and finished his studies and became very eminent in his profession in Keene, New Hampshire.) We borrowed a horse or pony of Colonel Parks, receiver of the land office, and rode and tied to Watertown, and there we spanseled the pony and turned him out to grass. The next day the Indians had stolen him and he was found some weeks after at Green Bay. We stopped with a Mr. Johnson, the first settler there and then the only family there except one in Goodhue’s camp.[109] They gave us a bed separated from the bed of Mrs. Johnson and her daughter by a blanket hung between us. Mr. Johnson slept on the floor. The house was about 12 × 12 feet, in one room. We had for food salt pork, potatoes, and blackberries, and good appetites.

We remained one week and labored diligently with adz and axe in cutting down a basswood tree and fashioning a canoe from it, and at the end of a week we hired Mr. Johnson’s yoke of oxen and drew the canoe about a mile to the river. Neither of us were acquainted with the use of tools, and the canoe was not artistic. We launched it, and on entering it the first time it shot from under me and left me in the river. But we soon got the hang of it and we set sail. On Pg 278 entering Lake Koshkonong we found the wild rice so high and thick that we could not find a way out of it, and we returned to an Indian encampment on the river and hired two Indian boys to go before us and pilot us through the rice (about half a mile) to clear water. We reached the outlet about dark and it was then by the river about twenty miles to Janesville, and we knew there was a log hut with a man and wife in it somewhere before reaching Janesville.

We pulled on in a bright moonlight and reached the shanty about midnight, very tired and hungry. On landing we went to the house and found an opening with a quilt for a door, which I pushed aside and spoke to a woman whom I discovered in a bed with her head within a foot of the door. She answered with a scream and the husband enquired, “Who is there?” I replied, “A friend,” and made known our wants. He arose and struck a light and I found we were in a log room about 12 × 8 feet with no windows, door, or fireplace, the fire for cooking being made against the logs at one end and a hole in the roof for the escape of the smoke. The bedstead was made of two upright sticks with sticks, one end entering holes bored in the logs, the other entering holes in the standing pieces and slats on these supports. There were two berths of this kind, one over the other. We were given the upper one and slept until the party under us had breakfast ready. The man had been to the river and caught a fine catfish for breakfast and we had appetites that gave our food a fine relish. From there we went to Beloit in one day without accident. This was in September. Mr. Sanborn remained with me several days. He boarded with Mr. Blodgett in his log house, sleeping on the floor. Mr. Johnson, Alfred Field, and some others lived in the Thibault hut and the Bicknell family in a log hut near the paper mill or present dam, on the east side of the river. I remained about four weeks.

Pg 279 While there, a meeting of the settlers was called at the Beloit House, which was at that time enclosed and partly finished, to give a better name to the place. Major Johnson, Deacon Hobart, and myself were appointed a committee to report one and we proposed several and finally agreed to place the alphabet in a hat and see if we could not get a combination of letters that would give us a name that would be a new one. While proposing this, Mr. Johnson undertook to sound a French word for handsome ground and in trying he spoke “Bollotte,” and I said after him “Beloit,” like Detroit in sound and pretty and original I think. All sounded it and liked it and we reported it to the twenty or thirty who had sent us out and it was unanimously adopted; and it has ever since been Beloit and not New Albany.

While at Beloit Major Johnson and Cyrus Eames took the canoe that Sanborn and I made and floated down to Burlington where the first territorial legislature for the Wisconsin Territory was in session. The present states of Iowa and Wisconsin were called Wisconsin Territory then. At that session they obtained a charter for a female seminary in Beloit, it being the first charter for an institution of learning that was granted in the Territory.[110] While at Beloit in September, a Professor Whitney of Belvidere preached the first sermon in the Beloit House that was preached in the county of Rock. I remained into October and then returned to Milwaukee by the way of Watertown on horseback, riding one of George Goodhue’s horses in company with him and remaining over night in his shanty at Watertown. I remained in Milwaukee until February, 1838, having sprained my ankle in January, which confined me to crutches for three months.

Pg 280 My father and sisters, Jane and Amanda, reached Fox River in December, where my sisters remained with my Aunt Tyler until March. They left Vermont in October and came by land with a three-horse team. My father came on to Beloit, and learning there that I was confined in Milwaukee by lameness, he started for me with his team, expecting to find his goods shipped by water from Burlington, Vermont, but found that the vessel and goods had been sent near Mackinaw and that a friend of mine had started with me in a jumper for Beloit, where we met after three days. We rented one-half of the log house which Blodgett had just left to occupy a new frame house. We went to Dundee for my sisters in March and settled in our home with but little furniture. My father had brought with him two beds and bedding and clothing. Dr. White, father of Horace White of New York, occupied the other half of the house with his family. I met him in April and we soon became fast friends. He was a good physician and a man of great business capacity, one who had great command of language and would say more in the fewest words than any man that I have ever known. He was a man of sound judgment. He was a very [word illegible] and reserved man, making but few confidants. We were more intimate than brothers usually are. We had no secrets that were withheld by either from the other. He died in December, 1843, and I was left very sad.

In the summer of 1838 I bought four yoke of oxen and broke prairie for the crop of 1839 after seeding the 20 acres which was my share of the 320 acres, which was ploughed in two fields and paid for and owned in common by the colonists. My father and I harrowed in wheat and oats in March. Bread and meat were very scarce and dear, and some days we had nothing but suckers caught out of Turtle Creek. But most of the time we had meat and as soon as the vegetables grew we lived very well having plenty of hog product and bread. Our fall crop of wheat was good.

Pg 281 In the fall of 1838 I went to Milwaukee and arranged with a merchant for stoves, boots, and shoes to sell on commission, and with one team I drove them to Beloit and sold them at a good profit to the settlers who were coming in almost every day. In the winter of 1838-9 we lived in a part of Mr. Blodgett’s new frame house. In the summer of 1838 I made a claim of 160 acres on Rock River, two miles above Fort Atkinson, which was covered with timber, much of it basswood. In the winter of 1838-9 I hired four men to cut logs and rafted them in the spring to Beloit and had them cut on shares by Messrs. Goodhue and Moore. From the sales of this lumber I paid my men and from a part of it I built a comfortable house for my family. My sisters, Emeline and Rosetta, had been left behind, one in Montreal and Rosetta with an uncle in Burke, Vermont, under the care of a physician, having a sprained foot that she did not step upon for three years and which is not well yet. They came west in the fall of 1838, so in the new house we all gathered and were very happy.

In March, 1839, the first land sale took place in Milwaukee, and I was chosen bidder for all claimants in the south half of Rock County east of Rock River, the lands on the west side having been brought into market before at a land sale in Milwaukee. The claimants all secured their lands, they standing by me and permitting no one to bid but me on their lands, and I got all for them at the upset price of $1.25 per acre. Here I met the cousin and agent of Gen. Philip Kearney, and arranged with him to buy lands for the general and take the agency of the lands purchased. I made entries for him at Milwaukee and afterwards at Dixon land sale and subsequently entered some thousands of acres with Mexican soldiers’ land warrants on shares and managed his estate in the west for some years, and in 1856 I bought his remaining lands at $60,000 and closed my account with him. He visited me once in Beloit.

Pg 282 The first session of the territorial legislature was held at Belmont, Lafayette County, the second at Burlington, Iowa, and the third in Madison in November, 1838, after Iowa was organized as a separate territory. I attended that and succeeding sessions for several years as a lobby member. In 1839 I was appointed sheriff of Rock County by Governor Dodge and held the office six years, in one of which I took the census of the county and as sheriff collected the taxes of the county. I had my appointment from Governor Dodge two years, from Governor Doty three years, and the last year from the people, the office having been made elective. The statutes would not permit me to hold it again until after two years. My business was such that I could not afford to hold it longer, and I accepted the last election because the county was democratic and I was the only Whig that could defeat the nominee of that party. On the night of the election I went to Janesville to get the returns and found all but four towns reported and a tie. The next town came in a tie, also the next, and one more to be heard from and that a democratic one I knew. When I got the returns from that I had seven majority, and a great shout went up from my friends.

At the legislative session of 1840 I was appointed a commissioner to lay out three territorial roads—one from Beloit to Southport (now Kenosha), one from Beloit to Madison, the other to Milwaukee. Two others were appointed with me on each road. I spent much time on them and they are the roads of today with some slight changes. At the next session I was commissioned to lay a road from Beloit to Watertown.

In 1839 I met for the first time Miss Caroline Field, the daughter of Deacon Peter Field, who was at Beloit to visit her parents. We soon became engaged to marry and after a courtship of three years we married in June, 1842. I had built a house, into which we moved on the day of our marriage, where I lived until 1866 and where all my children were born.

Pg 283 In 1842 Horace White, Harvey Bundy, and myself formed a partnership in a general goods business and commenced building the stone flour mill on the Turtle Creek. We bought a stock of goods for another store, called the Mill Store. In December, 1843, Doctor White died and I was left with all the business and also his family to care for and his estate to settle, and my partner, Harvey Bundy, a worthless business man. All the wise ones prophesied that we should fail and White’s estate was or would be used up. We owed a large amount and the mill was about half finished. I felt that I might lose all—for I had not much to lose really beyond the land that I first purchased and a few hundred dollars earned. I settled the estate and saved it without loss, and kept the family together until Mrs. White married Deacon Samuel Hinman. Horace White of the Tribune once, and now the treasurer of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, was the son of Doctor White.[111]

In 1852 a railroad charter had been obtained for building a road from Racine to Beloit. Also, one from Southport to Beloit. The incorporators of each road came to me to assist them to build, and I chose the road to Racine and made enemies of the incorporators of the Southport road for the time being. It was through my influence that it was built. Fisher, Keep & Tolcott contracted to build it from Fox River to Freeport, and built it from Fox River or Burlington to Durand, when the financial crisis of 1867 failed the company and the work was suspended one year. I was appointed a receiver by the court and ran it a short time when it was restored to the directors and I became a director and the company built it to the Mississippi and sold it out to the bondholders.

Pg 284 Before this, in 1848 the Chicago and Galena Railroad had been built to Elgin and the funds of the company were exhausted, and William B. Ogden and other directors came to Beloit and offered to build a branch of their road from Rockford to Beloit, when their road reached Rockford, if the people of Beloit would subscribe $75,000 to the main line. I was selected by our citizens to take the subscription and in one week I got it—part of it without conditions, and part with my guarantee that if they would subscribe and pay five per cent, that I would guarantee the stock to be par when the second installment was called for. The installments were to be five per cent each month. Mr. Keep, Mr. Cheney, and myself took $30,000 and I took $15,000 for General Kearney. When the second installment was called for I had to take several thousand more that was given me on my agreement to take it if not at par. Before the third installment was due the stock was at five per cent premium and I sold most of it. The company built the road from Belvidere instead of Rockford, which gave us a shorter line. The next year the Beloit and Madison Railroad was begun, and I was elected a director in that and remained on the board until it was sold to the Chicago & Galena Company, which company soon after sold out to the Northwestern Railroad Company. I was a contractor on the Chicago & Northwestern Air Line between the Rock and Mississippi rivers. In 1856 I was one of the contractors for building the railroad from Clinton, Iowa, to Council Bluffs. The contract was for grading, ironing, and ballasting the road and amounted to about $13,000,000. The pay was a land grant of every other section ten miles in width, some cash, and some bonds and some stock. When we had expended about $400,000 in grading, the company failed in 1857. We got the first 100 sections of land and the franchise of the road, which we sold to Mr. Blair of New Jersey and got even with the company. We took the land grant and built the road some years after; Morris K. Pg 285 Jessup, Dean Richmond, Charles Reed of Erie, and Messrs. Morris & Courtright of New York were partners, also H. S. Durand and Wm. Allen of Racine. I also had a partnership with the last two and Judge Green of Providence, Rhode Island, by which the latter gentleman was to furnish $100,000 cash to be used by Durand, Allan, and myself in the purchase of lands and town sites in Iowa on the line of the road, the profits to be divided equally between Durand, Allan, and myself, party of the first part, and Greene and his associates, party of the second part. The crisis of 1857 ended that project. In 1852 I prevailed upon a party in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to open a bank in Beloit. In 1854 John M. Keep, A. L. Field, and myself bought the bank stock and elected Keep president and Field cashier. In 1856 I was elected president and Mr. Keep sold his stock. In the crisis of 1857 the bank failed and was closed and its charter sold to Davis & Martin. In 1856 I was elected to the legislature and served in 1856-7 and declined a reëlection, as at the time of election the next year, I had more business irons in the fire than I could attend to.

When the charter of the city of Beloit was obtained, I was elected an alderman from the second ward and served six years, and was two years county supervisor. I was a director in a gas company, also in a car company that went no further than organizing.

I was a partner of W. T. Goodhue in the purchase and ownership of considerable real estate. With Goodhue and R. H. Mills in the purchase and sale of real estate; also, with R. H. Mills in the purchase and sale of a large amount of real estate. In the settlement with Mr. Mills, he owed me over $15,000 which he could not pay, so I gave it to him. Mr. H. Cheney owed me as much more when he left for Colorado, where he died. Messrs. Mills, Brooks, and I purchased and sold much real estate. I was elected a trustee of Beloit College at its organization and have been to date, also one of Pg 286 the Executive Committee while I lived in Beloit, and gave much of the site or grounds. I have been a deacon in the Congregational church about thirty years. In 1861 I was appointed by President Lincoln postmaster at Beloit. He had been my attorney in defending the title to Beloit, which I did at my own expense mostly and won the suit, and saved the citizens from a heavy blackmail.

The president offered me any office that I thought myself competent to fill, through my friend, David Davis. I took the Beloit post office, as I could not leave my business interests in Beloit. At the end of four years I was commissioned again by Lincoln and was afterwards removed by Johnson for refusing to support his measures. In 1862 I was appointed by Secretary Chase to take subscriptions to the first or gold bonds issued to carry on the war, and was one of two appointed for Wisconsin and received subscriptions.

[97] Lucius G. Fisher, a native of Vermont, was born at Derby, August 17, 1808. His father was a substantial farmer of Derby, but due to business reverses the son failed to obtain the anticipated college education, a fact which he never ceased to lament. While still a youth he formed the design of migrating to the West, but the execution of this project was delayed for several years, first by reason of his disinclination to separate from his mother, and after her death by the necessity of assisting in the support of his father and sisters. After several years of school teaching and two years of service as sheriff’s deputy, Fisher in 1834 entered the employ of the Messrs. Fairbanks, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to travel for them and introduce their “recently invented” platform scales. The immediate inducement to this employment was the proffered salary of $500 yearly and all expenses; but the work was accepted by Fisher, as he reports in later life, in order to find, in his travels, “that better country” he had determined, when but sixteen years of age, to seek.

The employment with the Fairbanks company continued profitably for Fisher for three years. Then the panic of 1837 brought it to a disastrous termination, under the circumstances set forth in the narrative which follows. The manuscript from which these facts are drawn, and the greater portion of which we print, tells the story of the writer’s life from birth until the time of writing, at Chicago, in the spring of 1883. To summarize its concluding portion, Fisher left Beloit for Chicago in 1866, where with Ralph Emerson he built a block at the southeast corner of State and Washington streets on the site of the present Columbus Memorial Building. Although burned out in the great fire of October 9, 1871, Fisher prospered in Chicago and became comparatively wealthy.

The manuscript narrative of his career was presented to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in January, 1917 by a grandson, William Scott Bond, of Chicago. Because of the valuable picture it presents of pioneer days in Wisconsin, and particularly of the early development of Beloit, in which Mr. Fisher played a prominent and creditable part, the narrative seems eminently worthy of the wider publicity and service which its publication in the Wisconsin Magazine of History involves. In preparing the manuscript for publication a uniform typographical style has been imposed, and certain minor lapses in composition have been eliminated; but these editorial changes affect in no degree the character of the narrative as it left Mr. Fisher’s hand.

[98] The Democrat, the first newspaper published in Chicago, was founded by John Calhoun in November, 1833. In 1836 Calhoun sold the paper to John Wentworth, who continued as its proprietor and editor until the Democrat was merged with the Tribune in 1861.

[99] Gurdon S. Hubbard, a native of Vermont, came west in 1818 as a youth in the employ of the American Fur Company, and was assigned to the Illinois Brigade. A number of years later he made Chicago his permanent residence and became one of the most prominent of the first generation of Chicago business men. He does not, however, deserve in any sense the title of “first settler” of Chicago.

[100] Chase’s Point was named after Horace Chase, a prominent citizen of early Milwaukee. Like the Chicago River, the Milwaukee has been subjected to a civilizing process which has resulted in the acquisition of a new mouth some distance to the north of the natural one.

[101] John H. Tweedy, a native of Connecticut and graduate of Yale, came to Milwaukee in 1836 as a youthful lawyer of twenty-two. He soon became prominent both in legal and in political circles, and throughout the territorial period was one of the leaders of the Whig faction in Wisconsin. In 1847 he was elected as territorial delegate to Congress. Upon the admission of Wisconsin to statehood Tweedy was put forward by the Whigs as their candidate for the governorship, but was defeated by Nelson Dewey. During the fifties Tweedy was active in the development of the railroad system of Wisconsin.

[102] Apparently the reference is to Solomon Juneau, one of the founders of Milwaukee, who settled there as an Indian trader in 1818.

[103] Alexander Pratt had removed from Milwaukee to Waukesha earlier in the year 1837. Although one of the very early settlers of Waukesha, he was not the first one, nor was his house the only one at the place at the time of Fisher’s visit. Pratt was unmarried at this time. He was a man of some means, however, and had in his employ a man and wife. Probably this couple is the one alluded to by Fisher.

[104] Harrison Reed had come west to Milwaukee in 1836, and in 1837 became virtually the first editor of the Sentinel. By an unfortunate quarrel a few years later he lost control of the paper and was ruined financially. After residences at Madison and Menasha, Reed in 1862 was appointed tax commissioner of Florida. He later (1868-72) served as governor of the state.

[105] The settlement of Fort Atkinson was begun in the autumn of 1836 under the auspices of the Rock River Claim Company. This company, organized earlier in the same year, had sent out an exploring party and made claims at several points, including Fort Atkinson. In order to make good the latter claim it was decided to locate a family on it, and accordingly a house was built and occupied by Dwight Foster and family, late in 1836. During the ensuing winter, Edward and Alvin Foster also came to Fort Atkinson, their houses being built about a mile up the river from Dwight Foster’s cabin. Instead of being the first house at this point, therefore, Alvin Foster’s was the second or third one built.

[106] The settlement of Janesville was begun by the erection of a log house by John Inman and others near the close of the year 1835. Two or three months later Henry Janes, for whom the town is named, staked out a claim here, and in the spring of 1836 brought his family to a cabin which workmen had already built for him. Several other families came during the following months, and Fisher is probably incorrect in saying there were but three at the time of his first visit in the autumn of 1837. The Bailey family, mentioned by Fisher, arrived in the autumn of 1836, and the Stevens family in the spring of 1837.

[107] Blodgett, a native of Vermont, had come west in search of a fortune, and in the spring of 1836 had bought Thibault’s squatter-right claim to all the land within “three looks” of his cabin for $200. Blodgett thereupon set up a claim to some ten sections of land, and fortified it, according to local histories, by building a log house and ploughing a furrow around it. Before becoming possessed of any legal title whatever, Blodgett began disposing of his extensive domain by selling to Goodhue his claim to one-third of it (one-fourth, according to Fisher) for the sum of $2,000. Goodhue in turn disposed of one-fourth of his interest to Fisher for $400. Meanwhile, in March, 1837, Dr. Horace White of Colebrook, N. H., had visited the place, and on behalf of the New England Emigrating Company had purchased one-third of Blodgett’s claim for $2,500. This coming of the New England Emigrating Company to Beloit may be regarded as the most important event in connection with its early development. At the same time Doctor White was instrumental in giving to Beloit her most famous citizen in the person of his three-year old son, Horace.

[108] The list of members according to Horace White included the following persons: Cyrus Eames, O. P. Bicknell, John W. Bicknell, Asahel B. Howe, Leonard Hatch, David J. Bundy, Ira Young, L. C. Beech, S. G. Colley, G. W. Bicknell, R. P. Crane, Horace Hobart, Horace White, and Alfred Field. William F. Brown, History of Rock County (Chicago, 1908), I, 133.

[109] This was Timothy Johnson, a native of Middletown, Conn., who came to Wisconsin in 1835. He stopped at Racine for a few months, going from there to Wisconsin City (now Janesville) at the beginning of 1836. Not satisfied here, however, he soon went up Rock River to a point about two miles below the site of Jefferson, where he built a log house and cleared a garden plot. Further prospecting soon led to the discovery of “Johnson’s Rapids” (modern Watertown), where he staked out a claim of 1,000 acres in the spring of 1836, bringing his family to the place in December following. He had thus been settled here about a year at the time of Fisher’s first visit.

[110] The charter was granted in 1837 for the establishment of a seminary “for young persons of either sex.” The school was not started, according to Horace White, until 1843 or 1844, when classes were held in the basement of the new Congregational church. Classes for girls were maintained separately in the “Female Seminary.”

[111] Horace White, widely known as a publicist, and writer on financial themes, was brought to Beloit by his parents as a child of three years in 1837. He was graduated at Beloit College in 1853, and in 1854 became city editor of the Chicago Evening Journal. From 1864 to 1874 he was editor and part owner of the Chicago Tribune. In 1883 he bought a part interest in the New York Evening Post and thereafter for twenty years was one of its managers, and for the last few years of the period its editor-in-chief.

Pg 287



With Introduction and Notes by Milo M. Quaife

The Chicago Treaty of 1833, with the negotiating of which the following documents deal, was an event of considerable importance, particularly in the history of Illinois and Wisconsin. From the first advent of the white man in this region the Potawatomi tribe of Indians had made its home in some portion of the territory adjacent to Lake Michigan. By the Chicago Treaty of 1833 the Potawatomi and allied tribes, the Chippewa and Ottawa, at length agreed definitely to leave this region and find a new home beyond the Mississippi. To the whites was surrendered their title to some 5,000,000 acres of fertile land in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, embracing the tract between Lake Michigan and Rock River and extending northward from an east and west line drawn through the southernmost point of Lake Michigan.

The circumstances attending the negotiation of the treaty were typical, probably, of those of Indian treaties generally in the first half of the nineteenth century. Yet two or three facts give to this treaty a somewhat special degree of interest. One is that we have left to us fuller and better descriptions of the negotiation of the treaty than is commonly the case. Another and more important one is that a larger sum of money was distributed in the form of gratuities more or less disguised, to facilitate the conduct of the negotiations. It is with this phase of the subject that the documents here presented deal. So far as known, no student of American history has ever seriously set himself the task of illuminating the subject of the process whereby the American government secured from the red man, in successive treaties, title Pg 288 to the greater portion of the land of continental United States.[112] A comprehensive study of this subject would reveal much of interest and value; it would be certain, too, to disclose much of a nature far from flattering to the American government and nation. That the Chicago Treaty of 1833 would afford some material of this sort for the construction of the narrative, it requires no hardihood to affirm. Charges of improper influences and conduct in connection with the framing of the treaty began to be made as soon as it was negotiated. Some of them, doubtless, were irresponsible and unfounded, but there is reason for supposing that this was far from being true with respect to all of them. The letter of Governor Porter is preserved in the Burton Library at Detroit, and acknowledgment is due to Mr. Burton for the copy we present. The charges against Porter are copied from a contemporary broadside preserved among the Martin manuscripts in the Wisconsin Historical Library. The two documents go hand in hand, for it is evident that the charges which Porter sought in his letter to Jackson to refute are identical with those stated in the broadside, although the latter seems not to contain all the material which had been submitted to Jackson and which was referred by him to Porter to answer. Readers who may be interested in pursuing the subject further may find a discussion of the Chicago Treaty of 1833 in the present editor’s Chicago and the Old Northwest 1673-1835, 353-66.


Detroit, December 12, 1833.

To Hon. the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs in the U. S. Senate

The following are the charges and specifications preferred against George B. Porter, Governor of Michigan Territory, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs:

Pg 289

GOV. PORTER, Commissioners Chicago Indian Treaty, 1833.
* Robert A. Forsyth, $3000 out of the $100,000 appropriated in lieu of the reservations—Forsyth, of the U. S. Army, receiving his as Indian Chief.
† James Kinzie, 5000
* Robert A. Forsyth, $3000 To be allowed out of $175,000 appropriated for claims against the Indians. The names marked *, are the Children of Old Mr. Forsyth; those marked †, are the Children of Old Mr. Kinzie. The annexed claims are allowed to the heirs of Forsyth and Kinzie, for the destruction of property by the Indians during the late War. Mr. Forsyth died in 1814, and his claims against the Indians were never heard of till now.
* Marcia Kercheval, 3000
* Alice Hunt, 3000
* Jane Forsyth, 3000
Jno. H. Kinzie, 5000
† Ellen Woolcott, 5000
† Maria Hunter, 5000
† Robert A. Kinzie, 5000
†  do. do. do 1216
* Robert A. Forsyth, 1300

Old Mr. Kinzie, whose claims are placed on the same ground, died a subject of the King of Great Britain—he fought against this country in the late war—his own family only escaping at the massacre of Chicago. The heirs of Forsyth and Kinzie, are cousins, consequently the above claims are all in one family. Major Robert A. Forsyth, a Paymaster in the U. S. Army, and the individual above named, was one of the committee on claims who allowed the above sum of $42,516 to himself, his sisters and cousins—one individual only being associated with him. The Major, and all of his sisters, were born in the province of Upper Canada, and he to this day has never been naturalized. He is, however, the especial protege of the Secretary of War, and Governor Porter. A large amount of just claims were rejected by the Committee, to make room for the claims allowed above.

* Robert A. Forsyth, $ 300 Said to be held in trust for certain Indians, and allowed by the Committee on Claims.
*  do. do. do. 200
*  do. do. do. 1000
*  do. do. do. 800
*  do. do. do. 200
*  do. do. do. 400

Pg 290 Roberson and Caldwell, the principal Chiefs of the Potawatamie Nation, half whites, and persons whom Robert A. Forsyth can control as he pleases, received $10,000 each, as a bribe to induce them to influence the other Chiefs of the Nation. It is allowed out of the $100,000 appropriated in lieu of reservations. Caldwell was the principal Chief at the massacre of the River Raisin. A Frenchman called Loranger, an Indian trader, was allowed by the committee on claims $5000, by assigning his claim to Robert A. Forsyth, to whom he was indebted $3000. The goods furnished by John H. Kinzie, Aid-de-Camp to Governor Porter, (and the individual named in the list of claims,) and Mr. Kercheval, (the husband of Maria Kercheval, named in the list of claims,) under former treaties, amounted to $100,000. The practice of Gov. Cass has always been to give the furnishing of goods to be distributed among the Indians, under a regulation of a former treaty, to the Indian Agent at the Agency where the goods were to be distributed, as a perquisite of his office. Had the precedent been followed in the present case, the Indian Agents at Green Bay, Chicago and Logansport, would have had the distribution of the goods. But Gov. Porter assigned, over and over again, as a reason for taking this perquisite from the Agents, that he was desirous of saving the per centage usually allowed them, and that in lieu of this per centage, he had engaged Kinzie and Kercheval only as agents to purchase the goods in New-York, and was to give them a per diem allowance for this trouble. Yet, in express contradiction of this declaration, Governor Porter, as can be positively proved, has allowed to Kinzie and Kercheval, 50 per cent. on the whole amount of goods furnished, making to them a profit of $50,000.

Trust Fund3,200
Profit on Goods50,000

This amount of public money is put into the pockets of one family in the short space of six weeks. Is it not reasonable to suppose, that Governor Porter finds a strong reason for confining the patronage of the Government to one family, in the fact that he comes in for a share of the “plunder?”

Pg 291 In addition to this, Kinzie and Kercheval have received from Governor Porter, the contract to furnish the Indians with horses, from which they will undoubtedly realize $10,000.

Kinzie also obtained the exclusive furnishing of the goods at the forks of the Wabash, amounting to $40,000, and Kercheval at Nottawassippie, to the amount of $20,000.

It is a fact notorious among all who attended the Chicago Treaty, that the goods furnished at that treaty, were afterwards taken from the Indians in large amounts, and furnished at other places. Kinzie himself, used the goods which he furnished the Indians as a gag to those who complained of his conduct, by making them presents of cloth, &c.

Lucius Lyon, our Delegate in Congress, is in possession of all the foregoing facts, and will vouch for their correctness; and for their further confirmation, I refer you to Geo. W. Ewing, Logansport, Ind.; Alexis Coquillard, South Bend, Ind.; Thos. J. V. Owen, Indian Agent, Chicago; Peter Godfroy, Teunis S. Wendell, Wm. Brewster, Edward Brooks, and S. T. Mason, of Detroit; and Robert Stewart, Mackinac; and Col. Ewing, Secretary of the Commissioners. Most respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Your Obedient Servt.


Detroit, December 15th, 1833.

Gen’l Andrew Jackson,
President of the United States,


After a fatiguing tour of more than three months, in performance of the several public duties assigned to me, I arrived here last evening, and have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, this morning, of your letter of the 2nd inst. with its inclosure.

Personal respect for you, Sir, restrains the expression of feelings, outraged and indignant at having been made the object of calumnies, so wantonly malicious and grossly untrue, as those contained in the paper laid before you, a copy of which you have transmitted.

Pg 292 I appreciate, with a proper sense of the obligation, the considerate justice which has offered me the means of confronting my accusers, whenever they shall declare themselves; and I thank you for the renewed mark of confidence in my integrity, thus indicated.

The statements contained in this tissue of fabrications, shall be met fully and fairly, by my own distinct declarations, which, if deemed insufficient, shall be sustained by ample testimony, incapable of refutation. And if in vindicating my honor from unmerited aspersion, the detail should prove tedious, I ask, not doubting it will be granted, your forbearance for a temper, smarting under a sense of undeserved injury.

I may be permitted to premise, that like other public men, I too, have my enemies. But for this peculiar and vindictive rancour that assails me, I cannot otherwise account, than by attributing it to that fruitful source of evil passions—disappointed expectations. If, in the endeavor faithfully to discharge my duties, it has not been in my power to accomplish all the wishes of all, it is but the common lesson which experience has taught, to others as well as to myself. The invidious feeling which these causes produce, seeks to gratify itself, by wresting from me the credit of having effected an important Treaty, and would willingly sacrifice to its object the best interests of the country.

To proceed then to the matters alleged against me.

The first proposition contains both an indirect and a direct falsehood. First, in stating, for the purpose of disparagement, that but three million acres of land are purchased, when in point of fact, there are nearly six millions; And Secondly, that the title not being in the Indians, “there was no necessity for a Treaty at all.” The declaration itself is utterly without foundation; but waiving this, I remark, that the province of determining this “necessity,” rested not with the Commissioners but with the President. In the present instance, it is well known that a cession of country along the Western shore of Lake Michigan was deemed of so much importance, that an appropriation for holding the Treaty was made at the last Session of Congress—Who could be ignorant of this fact? And yet, those who profess to understand Pg 293 this matter better than the President and Congress, and the Secretary of War, whose knowledge of these Indians and this region of country is minutely particular, assert that the land did not belong to the Indians ceding it, and that “a little investigation will satisfy any reasonable man that there was no necessity for a Treaty at all.”

It is stated also that to indulge my favoritism its objects always found it an easy matter to “persuade his Excellency to get up a Treaty.” The mendacity of the writer is equalled only by his ignorance. The power which assumes the ordering of Treaties does not lie with me. But without this, the charge is unfortunate in its application, for I appeal to my letters on file in the Department to show whether this appointment was eagerly coveted, or reluctantly accepted, by me. And the instructions of the Department under which the Commissioners acted, (an extract from which for your convenience I enclose), will show, that the Secretary was not only aware of the importance of the duty but directed us “not to abandon it till all hopes of success were exhausted.” That we succeeded in effecting all that was required of us and, in the opinion of every good and intelligent citizen with whom I have conversed, made a valuable Treaty, advantageous alike to the Government and the Indians, of importance to the surrounding country, and this in the most public and honorable manner, I had never heard doubted, until my return to this place. Since then, I have heard of boasts that I should be destroyed. And accordingly, during my absence, falsehood and aspersion were busy with my character and conduct. To destroy the confidence you repose in me, no means have been scruppled at.—First, it is boldly proclaimed that I cannot effect a Treaty—then it is denied that any credit is due to me, for having accomplished it:—and now, I am held exclusively answerable for the whole Treaty, and every circumstance attending it.

To my Co-Commissioners, and the gentleman selected by them as the Secretary of the Commission, who are all highly respectable Citizens of Illinois:—to the full Journal of all our proceedings:—to the many distinguished citizens of Illinois, Indiana and the surrounding country:—to every honourable man who was present during the Council, among Pg 294 whom are Mr. Daniel Jackson of New York—and Mr. Robert Stewart, the Agent of the American Fur Company at Michilimackinac, both of whom I understand to be now in Washington, and whose characters are known to you, I appeal with confidence, for a refutation of these slanders.[113]

The suggestion that extra allowances have been made to me for extra services is not disputed, being an usage of the Government from its first institution. The labors I have performed and the fatigues I have undergone, in this tour, over roads almost impassable, and during a continuation of the most unfavorable weather, teach me to believe that I have honestly earned all that the Rule of Department will allow: But the vile and mean insinuation appended, and which none but an utterly corrupt heart could generate, that I have sold my patronage, does not require an answer.

In reference to the claims or accounts contained in the Schedules annexed to the Treaty, to some of which particular exception has been taken, I proceed, in explanation, to state: That in furtherance of the policy of the Government to remove these Indians West of the Mississippi, the Commissioners refused to grant Reservations of land, although these were greatly preferred, but agreed, in lieu thereof, that a part of the consideration money should be apportioned among such individuals as the Indians chose to designate. In like manner another part of the consideration money, the amount of which was fixed, was to be applied in satisfaction of claims, which, on examination, should be admitted by the Indians to be justly divided. Who, so well as they, could tell whether they were indebted to an individual or not? But to protect themselves against unfounded claims, many of which were presented, the Chiefs and head men employed a gentleman of high standing and respectability, as their assistant, and asked permission that he might be present at the investigation of the claims. This gentleman was Richard E. Hamilton, Pg 295 Esq.,[114] of Chicago—in whom these Indians reposed unbounded confidence—They farther requested that Major Forsyth, for whom they professed a like regard, and who was familiarly known to them, should aid their friend Col. Hamilton in the duty confided to him. Impressed, as all were, with the character of the two gentlemen for integrity and honor, so reasonable a request was not denied.—In the presence of the Chiefs and those Assistants, the commissioners proceeded in the examination of the numerous claims, the decision on each claim being made by the commissioners; by all of them; and by them alone; and the amount allowed on each claim was then and there written down by the Secretary. So far as relates to the allowances, (so principal an object of animadversion), granted to the heirs of Forsyth & Kinzie, I aver, without fear of contradiction, that neither Major Forsyth nor any of the persons interested, had anything to do with the decision upon them; nor, to the best of my knowledge and recollection, were any of them present, when they were acted on—The Chiefs and Head men insisted upon these allowances, and the Commissioners, on hearing the representation of the Indians unanimously acquiesced in their justice. These with the several other claims allowed form, as I have stated, a part of the consideration money of the Treaty, and if it were possible, which it certainly is not, to preserve the Treaty, striking these out, the Individuals named would, I have not a doubt, suffer neither detriment nor loss—The whole Potawatamie Nation would, I am persuaded, restore the allowances at the Annuity table.

The name of Robert A. Forsyth, which occurs three times in the first statement of allowances, belongs to two different individuals, one of whom is a Merchant in Ohio,[115] and the other, the Paymaster. The extensive trade in which the Merchant of this name in Ohio is engaged will appear on reference to several Treaties lately made in Ohio and Indiana. Pg 296 Nor is this confusion of names mentioned in defence or extenuation—I am ignorant of any just ground of exception to my conduct, in the whole history of this transaction, but I note it, merely, as one of a series of deceptive statements. The jeering comment follows that “Major Forsyth of the United States Army, received his $3000 as an Indian Chief.” These falsehoods are almost too gross for refutation. The Treaty states the allowance. Does it say he received it as an Indian Chief? The Indians stated, themselves, and without any prompting on the part of the Commissioners, that there was due to Robert A. Forsyth a reservation, which had long since been promised by their nation, and which they had desired Governor Cass and Judge Sibley, Commissioners at the Treaty of Chicago in 1821, to grant him. This request has been reiterated at the Treaty of St. Joseph, in 1828, as can be attested by Gov. Cass and Mr. Menard, the Commissioners;—the land being then, and ever since, set apart for him by the Indians. It was not secured to him in either of these Treaties, because not included within the bounds of the lands then ceded. The Commissioners, in this, as in every other instance when it could be done compatibly with the policy of the Government, and with justice to Individuals and the Indians, conceived it their duty to obey their wishes.[116] The selection of persons to examine and adjust claims, as well for reservations as on account of losses, was made, not by the Commissioners, but by the Indians themselves. The claims were all subjected to the supervision of the Indians, or persons they themselves appointed to represent them;—It is notorious that they expressed at all times the most unhesitating confidence in their Indian Agent, Col. Owen, who was one of the Commissioners:—in Col. Hamilton, whom they specially deputed to act for them, and in the two persons Pg 297 scoffed at as “half whites,” Caldwell and Robinson.[117] With these was associated also Joseph, an influential Chief, who was present in every business transaction—Caldwell and Robinson have been nurtured with, and raised by, these Indians, one from childhood, and the other from his birth; they are identified with this tribe, and are Indians in character, in manners, in mode of life, in sentiments and conduct, and as such are regarded by them. By reference to the Treaty of 1829, it will be seen that they were then acknowledged as the principal men, and the Treaty was made with them. Whom could they trust if not these? After the assent to sell had been obtained, and the general preliminaries had been agreed upon, the Indians in open council, as will appear by the Journal, advised the Commissioners that they had confided the care of their interests, and all the details of the Treaty, to these, their principal chiefs; and the Commissioners, as I considered then and now, properly acquiesced. When these details were completed, and the Treaty reduced to form, it was read by Col. Hamilton in private Council to the Indians, and was again read before them in public Council, by myself, and unanimously approved. It is represented that old Mr. Forsyth never had $500 in property in his life. This can be disproved by a hundred witnesses, conversant with the fact, that he was extensively engaged in the Indian trade. So, too, the assertion that “old Mr. Kinzie died a subject of the King of Great Britain”, can be falsified by the records of the War Department, showing him to have been for many years after the war a Sub Agent of the Government. Equally and unqualifiedly false also is the declaration that “he fought against his country in the late war,” or “led the Indians in the Massacre of Chicago.” On the contrary he was a zealous and efficient partizan of the American party, and as the books of the American Fur Company will show, was their agent at his death.

Nor is the declaration that Major Robert A. Forsyth, a Paymaster in the United States Army, has never been “naturalized,” by which it is intended to be conveyed that he is an alien, less destitute of truth. The Father of Major Pg 298 Forsyth was an American Citizen, (born in Detroit), and has always resided in this country, and the accidental circumstance that Major F’s mother was, at his birth, among her friends across the narrow line which divided the Territory from Canada, did not, nor could, divest him of his national character. The law of nations recognize no such principle: Accordingly, the vote of Major Forsyth has never been challenged at an election; he bore a Commission, as a Cadet of the Military Academy, and subsequently as an officer in the Army of the United States. He has been elected to the Legislature of the Territory, and executed the trust; where the objection stated, if valid, would have been fatal. Finally, he has received from the President of United States, a Commission as Pay Master in the United States Army. Equally deceptive with every other feature of this malignant attempt to destroy me, is the perverse meaning significantly assigned to the trusts, confided to Major Forsyth and Mr. Kinzie. They are real, substantial trusts, created under circumstances of perfect notoreity at Chicago, and challenge scrutiny. In these, as in every other case, the appointment was made without consulting the individual, and in some instances against his inclination.

Major Forsyth is charged also with having bribed Caldwell and Robinson with $10,000 each, to influence the Chiefs of their Nation. This varies in nothing from the complexion of the other statements. It is a pure fiction. Major Forsyth had nothing to do with the matter. The Individuals cited, received, by the express direction of their people, the sum of $10,000 each, as the two head men of the nation, to whom the entire direction of their affairs had long before been committed,—on whom they not infrequently lived, and to whom they looked for relief in their necessities. A reference to the Journal will establish the fact of their appointment, because it is so declared in the speeches of the Indians, delivered in public Council. If the Indians, in open Council, declare what shall be done with a part of the consideration money of their land and, according to their custom, insist that their principal Chiefs shall be provided for out of it, why should it be objected to? As well might it be objected that $5000, a part of this consideration money, is appropriated at the request of the Pg 299 Chiefs to the students of the Choctaw Academy, of which sum the Honorable Richard M. Johnson is constituted Trustee.[118]

It is said also among other representations that a Frenchman called Loranger,[119] who never had goods in the Indian country, was allowed by the Commissioners on Claims $5000 by assigning his claim to Robt. A. Forsyth to whom he was indebted $3,000.

It is with difficulty Sir, that I can sufficiently command my feelings, or control the disgust with which I am affected, at these monstrous falsehoods, for while I would speak of them in the manner they merit, I would not forget the respect due to you. But in the above proposition of three lines, are stated three direct, unqualified untruths:—First—That he had had no goods in the Indian Country which could be refuted by a common clamor. Second—That he assigned his claim to Major Forsyth; and Third—That he was indebted to him for $3000.—I have already named Mr. Daniel Jackson, of the firm of Suydam, Jackson & Co., of N. Y. who are so extensively engaged in the sale of Indian Goods—Of him I would ask how long he has known Mr. Loranger to be in the Indian trade, and what has been the amount of goods sold yearly to Mr. Loranger—The claim of Mr. Loranger was much greater than the allowance—The balance is lost to him, because not presented at the Treaty in Indiana in October 1832, being due by that Band or Party of Potawatamie Indians—He has been in the Indian trade since 1804, and lives within sight of this town.

I had intended to close this communication here; but I cannot remain silent, while slanders are heaped upon the gallant dead. The characters and memories of John Kinzie and Robert A. Forsyth deceased have been wickedly assailed—and by whom? Their descendants would like to know—For the part each one of these individuals took, and the important services rendered by them to the American Government in the late war, reference is made to many of the Pg 300 first men in the country; Among those immediately around you is the Secretary of War, Major General Macomb, General Gratiot and Colonel Croghan.—Having considered it my duty to make inquiry I have obtained the following information and believing it to be strictly correct, I give it to you as such.

Memoir of the late John Kinzie of Michigan.[120]

John Kinzie died at Chicago in 1828, aged 64 years; he came to this part of the Country when a boy and was in the Indian trade during the greater part of his life. He went to Chicago, Illinois, in 1803—was Sutler for the United States troops for several years, and was the first to take from Detroit the news of the declaration of War, to Captain Heald then commanding the Fort at that place.[121] On the eve of the massacre at Chicago, Mr. Kinzie with two friendly Indian Chiefs, called at Captain Heald’s quarters, and advised him not to abandon the Fort as was contemplated the next morning, but to remain as long as possible; for if he left it he would certainly be attacked by the Indians, who had collected to the number of five hundred warriors.—Captain Heald persisted in going—said he had orders from Genl. Hull to evacuate the post, and to proceed with his command to Fort Wayne. Captain Heald then requested Mr. Kinzie to accompany him, which he did, leaving his family with but three men to protect them on their way to St. Joseph (distant by water 100 miles). Mr. Kinzie’s family were taken prisoners a few hours previous to the massacre. Mr. Kinzie was in the battle, as well as one daughter, the wife of Lieutenant Helm, whose horse was shot from under her. She received a wound in the foot from the ball which killed her horse. Mr. Kinzie was taken prisoner with the surviving command of Captain Heald. Having been long a principal trader among these Indians, and much esteemed by them, he was next day by a Council held by the Chiefs, liberated, and his family restored to him.

Pg 301 He then prevailed upon the Indians to surrender to him Captain Heald and family, whom he furnished with conveyance to Mackinac.[122] Mrs. Heald now residing at St. Louis can prove all these facts.—Having lost all his property to a very considerable amount (it being a wholesale establishment) consisting of merchandise, furs and peltries and horses, etc., taken by the Indians, he went to Detroit. His influence while there was directed toward affecting a change in the views and feelings of the Indians at that time unfriendly to the American Government. This influence with the different tribes of Indians was very considerable and as a proof of it General Proctor commanding the British force in Detroit and its vicinity sent for Mr. Kinzie, and when he went to see him General Proctor immediately confined him as he said “for daring to prejudice the Indians against his Majesty’s subjects or forces, and would send him where he would not see an Indian in a hurry.”—Mr. Kinzie was twice rescued by several Indian Chiefs, and once in the presence of General Proctor himself. Mr. Kinzie was again taken by General Proctor and closely confined in irons at Fort Malden (as also a Mr. Jean Bte Chandonnois who subsequently made his escape and is now living in the St. Joseph country) and kept there for months. He was finally, to conceal him from the Indians, sent off in the night in irons—was treated in the most brutal manner by his guard, and was shipped for England for trial—Fortunately for him, the Ship lost her rudder, and she was obliged to put into Halifax, having on board a great number of American prisoners.—He thence made his escape in a crowd of paroled prisoners, and returned to his family in Detroit, after it had been taken possession of by General Harrison’s Army. Mr. Kinzie had not been long at home before he was called upon by Colonel Croghan, and accompaned the expedition under him to Mackinac, and was Captain of a party of Militia at the battle fought on the Island of Dousman’s Farm. Mr. Kinzie, after the close of the War, held the appointment of Sub Indian Agent for many years at Chicago.—He was well known to Generals Harrison, Macomb, Gratiot, and Col. Croghan.—During the Pg 302 time of hostilities, his energies were always devoted to the American cause.

Robert A. Forsyth was long and extensively engaged in the Indian trade.—His residence was at Detroit and his trading establishments in different places in the Indian Country. He not only enjoyed the confidence of the Indians but that of his fellow citizens. Every honest man then resident of Detroit can attest to his bravery during the late War. Such had been his conduct that, on the surrender of Detroit, he was marked as a fit subject for British vengeance.—He was torn from his family and with his only son, the present Major Forsyth, then a boy of about fourteen years, put on board the British vessels and carried off; his several infant daughters being left without a protector; their father’s house occupied by the British troops; and all his valuable property pillaged and carried away. Being landed on parol at Erie, Penn., the father and son soon afterwards found their way to General Harrison’s Army. This gentleman can attest to the many valuable services which they rendered. The father died in the year 1813, in the service of his country, without having been permitted to return to his family:—Being early enured to the hardships of trading among the Indians and being naturally active and brave the son frequently performed duties, from undertaking which others were deterred by their severity and danger. For the history of the son, the hardships he encountered, his important services before, and his gallant conduct during the war, I refer you to the Honourable Lewis Cass, who is familiar with its details.

I have now, Sir, I believe, with one exception, gone over the whole ground. That exception relates to the furnishing of goods by Mr. Kercheval and Mr. Kinzie, and as it has no connection with the Treaty of Chicago, being in fulfilment of the stipulations of previous treaties, and in the making of which I had no agency, and concerns myself exclusively, I shall make it the subject of a communication to accompany this.

The question so insidiously put, of whether “the Governor does not secretly reap a share of the plunder” I cannot, consistently with the respect due myself, answer.—Whether I have forgotten principle and character, and everything Pg 303 dear to an honourable mind, to defile my hands with the contamination of a bribe, is a question others must settle for me.

In conclusion, I have only to add that, to the issue I have here made up, I commit without shadow of fear of the result, what is dearer to me than all else—my reputation and good name.

[G. B. Porter.]

[112] The State Historical Society of Wisconsin has under preparation a volume devoted to those Indian treaties which are of more direct interest to Wisconsin.

[113] Daniel Jackson belonged to the firm of Suydam, Jackson and Company of New York, large importers of goods for the fur trade. Robert Stuart was manager at Mackinac for the American Fur Company. Porter’s appeal to these men is not entirely convincing, since they were important representatives of the fur trade merchants who, as a class, profited most largely by the gratuities and allowances concerning which complaint was being made.

[114] Richard J. Hamilton came to Chicago in 1831 as first clerk of the circuit court of Cook County. During the next few years he held a large number of local offices of a legal or fiscal nature, much of the time holding several at the same time. He had much to do with the establishment and early administration of the public school system of Chicago.

[115] Robert A. Forsythe of Ohio was an early trader at Maumee City in Lucas County. He was probably the son of James Forsythe, an early merchant and tavern keeper of Detroit. He was one of the founders of the lower Maumee Valley.

[116] The pronouncement of Meriwether Lewis to President Jefferson on this point, given in a case which involved the same principle as the one here involved, is not without interest in this connection: “I am confident that, if the United States should never confirm the lands to the present claimants, it will not prove a source of disquiet on the part of the Osages; and should they be ever countenanced or receive confirmation, on the ground of their being Indian donations, it would introduce a policy of the most ruinous tendency to the interests of the United States; in effect it would be, the Government corrupting its own agents; for, I will venture to assert, that, if the Indians are permitted to bestow lands on such individuals as they may think proper, the meanest interpreter in our employment will soon acquire a princely fortune at the expense of the United States.” American State Papers, Indian Affairs, I, 767.

[117] Billy Caldwell and Alexander Robinson, halfbreeds, who were influential with the Potawatomi and the Ottawa.

[118] Unfortunately for Porter’s justification in this particular instance, the investigations of students have revealed much that is of questionable propriety in connection with Johnson’s conduct of his Indian school.

[119] Joseph Loranger was a fur trader in the River Raisin and before the War of 1812 had a store in partnership with Lafontaine. In 1817 he platted the town of Monroe, Michigan, of which place his descendants were prominent citizens.

[120] The correctness of this narrative is not above question in all respects. In general it may be noted that Porter was bent on presenting a favorable account of Kinzie’s career, and that he evidently drew his information from friendly sources. Nevertheless, it constitutes an interesting addition to our sources of information concerning Kinzie, the reputed “father of Chicago.”

[121] Kinzie removed to Chicago in 1804, the year following the establishment of Fort Dearborn. The statement that he brought the news of war to Fort Dearborn is incorrect.

[122] This statement is in contradiction with our other sources of information on the subject.

Pg 304



Boundary disputes have ever constituted a fruitful source of contention between men and nations. Probably no people has more frequently engaged in them than our own, although, contrary to Old-World precedent, we commonly wage our boundary contentions verbally rather than with arms. Wisconsin, like others of the sisterhood of states, was early in its history a party to a number of boundary disputes, the fruits of victory commonly going, at least in local contemporary judgment, to her opponents. Since Wisconsin has become a state, boundary disputes have until recent years ceased. Two such have, however, arisen within the twentieth century and are still pending, one with the state of Minnesota, the other with that of Michigan. The former is in process of settlement by due governmental procedure, and accordingly no discussion of it would now be useful. The latter is at present in a state of quiescence; yet the boundary paragraphs of the constitutions of Michigan and of Wisconsin contain mutually contradictory clauses with respect to a strip of territory over which Michigan claims and Wisconsin exercises jurisdiction. Moreover, the overtures of our northern neighbor a few years since looking to a determination of the question met on our part with rebuff. Sooner or later, the issue will have to be determined; pending this, an historical résumé of the points at issue may be of some interest, especially to Wisconsin readers.

The boundary between Michigan and Wisconsin was first determined in the act that in 1836 created Wisconsin Territory. In ignorance of the real geography of the region this act described a supposititious line, under the belief that the Montreal River had its source in Lake Vieux Desert. Two years later Congress appropriated $3,000 for the survey of the Michigan-Wisconsin boundary. The appropriation was considered insufficient and no attempt was made to run the line until 1841. Then, the matter having been transferred to the War Department, an army engineer, Lieutenant Thomas J. Cram, was detailed to undertake the survey. Cram spent Pg 305 the summer of 1841 in Wisconsin’s northern forests, ascertained many facts about the lakes and streams therein, and reported them to the department. Two years later Cram was again detailed to search for the true Wisconsin-Michigan boundary. He spent four months under conditions involving much hardship, in the attempt to determine the line as nearly as possible in accordance with official description. In the report which he made to the head of his department he recommended the abandonment of Lake Vieux Desert as a determinating factor in the interstate boundary line.[123]

The determination of the line rested until 1846, when, in the enabling act providing for the admission of Wisconsin, Congress established the line “to the mouth of the Menominee river; thence up the channel of the said river to the Brulé river; thence up said last mentioned river to Lake Brulé; thence along the southern shore of Lake Brulé in a direct line to the center of the channel between Middle and South Islands, in the Lake of the Desert [Vieux Desert]; thence in a direct line to the head waters of the Montreal river, as marked upon the survey made by Captain Cramm; thence down the main channel of the Montreal river to the middle of Lake Superior.” The constitution of Michigan, adopted in 1850, repeated the boundary article of Wisconsin’s enabling act with only slight verbal changes, including the omission of Captain Cram’s name. The fundamental laws of the two states were thus in accord concerning the line separating these states.

In the meanwhile, in 1847 a portion of the boundary was surveyed by William A. Burt, under the direction of Lucius Lyon.[124] Burt took the contract on April 27 and performed his work during the succeeding summer months. The field notes of his survey do not accompany his printed report, but Lyon stated that Burt’s notes would be forwarded later, and no doubt they are yet preserved in the General Land Office at Washington. From these field notes it might be ascertained why Surveyor Burt chose the eastern branch as the “main channel of the said Montreal river.” In so doing he assigned to Wisconsin 360 square miles of land that now include the towns of Pg 306 Hurley and Van Buskirk. Had he chosen the western branch, rising in the Island Lake as the Montreal’s headwaters, the jurisdiction of this strip would have rested in Michigan.

No one undertook to investigate the matter until quite recent years. Then Hon. Peter White of Marquette, Michigan, believing that his state was illegally deprived of the land between the two branches of the Montreal River, had a survey thereof made at his private expense. White’s surveyors ascertained, to their own and his satisfaction, that the western branch was the “main” channel of the Montreal River. Meanwhile Mr. White had interested in Michigan’s claims Clarence W. Burton of Detroit, the president of the State Historical Commission. Burton discovered that one of Burt’s surveyors, George H. Cannon, was still living, and arranged for the publication of an article from his pen supporting White’s contention that Michigan had been wrongfully deprived of a portion of her upper peninsula.[125]

Shortly after this, in 1907, Michigan held a convention to prepare a new constitution for the state. Burton was chosen a member of this body, and became chairman of the committee on boundaries. That committee, without discussion upon the floor of the convention, had the boundary article of the new constitution drawn to read: “thence in a direct line through Lake Superior to the mouth of the Montreal river; thence through the middle of the main channel of the westerly branch of the Montreal river to Island Lake, the head waters thereof, thence in a direct line to the center,” etc. This became part of Michigan’s fundamental law on February 21, 1908.

Meanwhile in 1907 two resolutions passed the Michigan legislature. The first, after reciting the mistakes in Captain “Cramm’s” surveys, authorized the governor to appoint a commissioner to visit Wisconsin in order to secure a joint commission for the adjudication of the boundary. In pursuance of this resolution the governor appointed Hon. Peter White to this office. He came to Madison twice, but could not interest the state’s officials in his enterprise, and was unable to secure any promise of participation in a joint commission. In June, 1908, Mr. White died, and so far as known no successor to him as boundary commissioner has ever been appointed.

Pg 307 The second Michigan resolution of 1907 authorized the attorney-general to direct a survey of the state’s northwest boundary, and also to institute proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure a rectification of the boundary line. Acting on this authorization the attorney-general employed Professor J. B. Davis, of the University of Michigan, to investigate the survey and prepare a brief of Michigan’s claims. The result of Professor Davis’ investigation has not yet been given to the world. A chronicler of Michigan wrote in 1908 that “in view of the political excitement of the presidential year no active measures [concerning the disputed territory] are likely to be taken this season.” On another page the author expresses a doubt “whether the state of Michigan can ever occupy the territory justly hers.” He concludes with the observation that it “is believed to be the only instance in this nation where two sovereign states are occupying a dividing line of doubtful legality, merely by common consent.”[126]

Louise P. Kellogg.


In the collection of Mr. Henry Cady Sturges, of New York, there is a copy (the only one the writer has seen) of a play which, while it may not be the earliest, is certainly one of the first printed in Milwaukee. While the plot of the production is laid in New York and is largely local in interest, yet the fact that it was printed in Wisconsin, and the further fact that no other edition seems to be known, makes it fairly certain that it is the offspring of a writer who lived in Wisconsin.

The piece bears title as follows: “The Drummer, / or / New York Clerks / and / Country Merchants. / A Local Play, / in two acts. / (2 lines of verse.). / Edited by Mrs. Partington. / Milwaukee:/ Job Press of Cary & Rounds. / Commercial Advertiser Office./ 1851./” It has 73 + 1 pages and paper covers, the front cover bearing the same title as above.

A curious coincidence regarding the characters in the play is that the father of the present owner, Jonathan Sturges, is among them, his part being that of “Mr. Sturges, a New York Merchant,” Pg 308 that really being his occupation. “Mrs. Partington” is also among the characters.

This curious production was written at the time of the Jenny Lind excitement, and that great singer is mentioned in a number of places throughout the play. Her manager, P. T. Barnum, is there also, while some of the localities noted are Coney Island, Niblo’s, The Bowery, and Castle Garden. The first act takes place, first in a saloon on Broadway, and afterwards in the office of a first class hotel, also on that well-known thoroughfare. The second act is staged in Mrs. Partington’s parlor in the same hotel.

Some of the popular books of the period are mentioned, among them New York in Slices, while among the names of well-known New Yorkers are Horace Greeley and James Gordon Bennett, editor of the Herald. Milwaukee is hinted at, and Mr. Sturges is made to say by the playwright as he addresses his clerks, “Fourteen hundred dollars from Wisconsin. Extremely good. Wisconsin crops are nearly all destroyed, still the money is sure to come from that state. More goods are ordered, they shall have them.”

The play is interspersed with songs that are saturated with the alleged humor of the period, and sad to relate, one of these songs has been torn from the copy before me, probably because of its facetious nature.

It is doubtful if the writer ever intended to have his production staged, although the copy now described has several corrections such as are found in prompt copies.

I am inclined to believe that the statement on the title that its editor was Mrs. Partington (Benj. P. Shillaber) was simply put on to add to the humor of the occasion, as I doubt if Shillaber had a hand in its composition.

On page 73 is the statement that copyright has been secured.

From a perusal of the piece it seems evident that its author knew the metropolis very well, but the misspelling of proper names and other evidence makes it seem almost certain that it was the work of some one, who, while well acquainted with New York, was not a permanent resident of that city. Was he a writer from Wisconsin? If so, who was he, and why was he writing a play of this character, a piece whose plot was taken from a place so far from home?

Oscar Wegelin.

[123] Lieutenant Cram’s maps are reproduced in Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, XXXVIII, 386-87. His reports are found in Senate Documents, 151, Twenty-sixth Congress, 2nd sess., Vol. IV; ibid, 170, Twenty-seventh Congress, 2nd sess., Vol. III.

[124] Burt’s report, with accompanying map, may be found in Senate Executive Documents, 2, Thirtieth Congress, 1st sess.

[125] For the article see Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, XXXVIII, 163-68.

[126] Ibid. 167-68.

Pg 309



To tell a new Lincoln story is something of an achievement. Colonel Tom Brown, a former citizen of Badgerdom, who now resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has achieved this distinction, we believe, in relating the following incident. In view of the nature of our leading article, and of the local interest which attaches to Mr. Brown’s tale, we gladly give it such additional currency as lies within our power.

In some sections of southwestern Wisconsin during the Civil War, so the story runs, certain copperhead organizations, particularly the Knights of the Golden Circle, became decidedly outspoken in the expression of their sentiments—so much so that a group of loyal citizens decided to send a spokesman to Washington to acquaint the President with the threatening proceedings. The delegate chosen for this mission was a certain Professor Kilgore of Evansville Seminary. On his arrival at Washington he was invited to take lunch at the White House, where he was seated next to President Lincoln himself. At this time finger bowls were coming into fashion, but their advent had not as yet come within the ken of the simple western professor. Accordingly he was greatly perplexed by the little dish, containing a slice of lemon and some liquid, apparently lemonade, which appeared near the close of the meal. Observing his embarrassment, President Lincoln, leaning toward him, whispered, “Professor, don’t sip out of that bowl, watch me.”

Following this kindly instruction the pedagogue concluded the meal without disgracing himself. When, later, they found themselves alone together, President Lincoln confided to the visitor that he himself needed a servant to keep him informed about “those little things.”

Pg 310 We cannot vouch for the truth of the story, although it rests on better authority than most of the tales that are told about Lincoln. However authentic its details, it presents a trait of homely kindness, the possession of which constitutes one of the most attractive aspects of Lincoln’s personality.


The last day of the year brings to hand the January, 1917, number of the quarterly Journal of a neighboring state historical society. What the local conditions may be which render it necessary to be a year behind with the publication of this periodical, we are unaware. Reference is made to it by way of calling attention to a practice which is all too common with respect to the issuance of historical periodicals and other publications. If a quarterly must appear six months or a year late it would seem to be a fair question whether its appearance at all is worth while. If such delays are due to the slackness or incompetency of the editor, the proper authorities should apply a much needed stimulant. If they are due to conditions beyond the editor’s control, reform (in the quarter responsible for the delay) is still desirable. We suspect that commonly such delays are caused by the state printers, by whom, at least in the Middle West, historical publications are generally issued. We speak the more feelingly on the subject because our own Society is not immune from the criticism under discussion. The printer dallied for a year over our most recently issued volume, while it required six months to get a forty-page bulletin printed. It avails little for editors to be punctual and businesslike in turning out their work, if it may then be hung up indefinitely by the printer, with the editor deprived of any means of amending the situation. Quite possibly state printers are themselves the victims of a system the amendment of which is beyond their control. Of this we have no particular knowledge. Wherever the responsibility may justly be placed, the Pg 311 manner in which most public printing is done in this country offers a severe commentary upon our boasted American efficiency.


There is an ancient story concerning a grave debate indulged in by a group of English philosophers during the Stuart period over the question why a fish does not weigh anything when in the water. At length it occurred to one of them to weigh a vessel of water with a fish in it, and again with the fish removed. As a result of this simple test the philosophers were forced to seek a new subject upon which to exercise their wits. At the present time it seems to be generally assumed that with the invention of new implements of warfare and of improvements upon old ones the horrors of war have steadily increased; in particular, that the present war is far more horrible to those who participate in it than any of its predecessors in the history of the human race have been. Such a belief as this entails obvious consequences affecting not only the peace of mind of our people but, in the last analysis, the success of the cause to which our nation is committed. For if it is indeed true that our young manhood is going to certain death under circumstances more awful than the pages of military history have hitherto ever recorded, our willingness as individuals to send our loved ones to meet such a fate must be seriously shaken by the prospect; while, collectively, the will of the nation to persist in the war upon which we have embarked will be similarly affected. In a word, such an impression gravely threatens the morale of the nation, including both those who go to war and those who send them forth. That our Teutonic foemen have not been unmindful of this is amply evidenced by the new and hellish connotation which in recent years they have succeeded in attaching to the word shrecklichkeit. To German shrecklichkeit we will pay our respects presently. Meanwhile we Pg 312 desire to deal with the question whether under the influence of modern science and invention the conduct of warfare has in fact become increasingly horrible.


We believe it can be shown, on the contrary, that the direct opposite is true; that the warfare waged by primitive peoples and in ancient times was a far more horrible procedure than is that waged by civilized nations today. It may be taken as axiomatic that the horrors of battle, like the transports of love, increase as the distance between the parties concerned diminishes. All savage warfare, and all civilized warfare as well, until a very recent date, was waged at close range. In ancient and in medieval times men battled hand to hand with spear and sword and ax. The vanquished found slight opportunity to escape and the hand of the conqueror was stayed by no considerations of twentieth century humanity. The chronicles of the Hebrews, the Lord’s anointed, and the narratives of Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar tell alike the same general tale of slaughter of the opposing warriors and the slaughter, rapine, or enslavement, as the case might be, of their dependents. In medieval times, it is true, under the influence of the institution of knighthood, certain rules foreshadowing the modern rules of war were developed. But these more humane rules applied only to the aristocracy, the commoner being excluded from their operation and benefits.

With the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries came two developments of much importance for their bearing upon our subject. The one was the application of gunpowder to the art of war, as the result of which war was democratized; the business of knighthood soon became as dead as Cæsar’s ghost, and as firearms improved, the distances at which opposing armies fought slowly widened. The other was an indirect result of the Dutch war for independence. Meditating upon the terrible brutalities to which his people were Pg 313 subjected by it, Hugo Grotius evolved the treatise on the laws of war and peace which by common consent has ever since been regarded as the foundation of modern international law. Grotius sought, in a word, to humanize warfare by securing the establishment by common agreement of rules calculated to prohibit its more debasing and awful manifestations. In the three hundred years ending with August, 1914, much progress was made, both along the lines laid down by Grotius and in other ways, looking to the minimizing of the horrors of war. At the same time, ever more ingenious and powerful death-dealing appliances were being devised for the waging of such combat as the rules of international law still rendered permissible.


Notable progress, too, was being made along another line. Humanitarianism in its modern connotation is the child of the nineteenth century. To feel distress over the knowledge that famine or other ill afflicts a distant people is a purely modern accomplishment of which our forefathers of two or three centuries ago were wholly innocent. As applied to armies, the humanitarian impulse has worked a startling revolution. Organizations designed to care for the sick and the wounded have developed on an elaborate scale. The Red Cross was called into being only half a century ago as an indirect result of the horrors of the battlefield of Solferino. It was born too late to have any share in alleviating the miseries of our own Civil War but since that time it has constituted an ever increasing agency for the relief of human suffering, whether in peace or in war. Even the “unspeakable Turk” has been infected by the virus of humanitarianism and the Red Crescent plays for the Mohammedan world the rôle fulfilled by the Red Cross among the nations of Christendom.


The progress made in recent years in the fields of medicine and surgery has been no less striking than in that of humanitarianism; while the development of a new social consciousness (a concomitant, of course, of the humanitarian movement) has resulted in throwing about the soldier who wars for America in 1918 a set of safeguards, and in providing him with a degree of comfort such as no other warriors in the history of the world ever enjoyed. Against drunkenness and vice, twin plagues of army life since the beginning of the world, he is at least as well protected as is the civilian at home. Libraries and clubhouses and games and lectures are provided with unstinted generosity for his recreation and instruction. That his mind may be free from incidental worry, a system of life insurance on a scale hitherto undreamed of has been evolved; while the wife or other dependents at home are insured by the largess of a parental government against coming to actual want during his absence.


All these things will avail little to comfort the soldier or his loved ones if it is in fact true that he is being sent to a certain and awful death—if his span of life, after reaching France, is limited to a few weeks, and after reaching the front line trenches to a few hours or minutes. Let us proceed, then, to weigh this particular fish. We can do it only approximately, for it is inherent in the nature of warfare that accurate, dependable statistics are commonly lacking, or extremely difficult to obtain. The testimony of such as we have, however, is all in support of the view that never before in civilized warfare has the individual soldier had so good a prospect of surviving the term of his enlistment and returning once more to the homeland as now. It is not contended, of course, that modern war is simply a pleasant pastime from which all will return unscathed, but merely that the current impression concerning its having become Pg 315 more awful and more fatal than in times past is incorrect. According to respectable authority the casualties in the entire French army in proportion to mobilized strength amounted, for the first six months of 1915, to 2.39 per cent. Since then the ratio has steadily decreased, the figure for the last six months of 1916 being 1.28 per cent. At the beginning of the war, for the battles of Charleroi and the Marne, when the French suffered more heavily than at any time since, the casualties were 5.41 per cent of the mobilized strength of the army. In other words during the period of greatest danger in the entire war but five men in every hundred received wounds, while, of these five, it is a safe generalization to say that only one died as a result thereof.

In view of the enormous numbers of men in the present war, the absolute figures of losses are appalling enough. Relatively, however, the losses are lower than in many previous wars. In no great battle of the war, probably, has the individual soldier stood so good a chance of being wounded or killed as did those—to mention a few cases only—who fought at Fredericksburg or Gettysburg, at Stone River or Chickamauga, at Waterloo, at Aspern, at Borodino, or Leipsic. At Fredericksburg, Burnside lost, in a few hours, one-tenth of his army, the loss in that portion actively engaged amounting to 16 per cent; at Gettysburg, in three days, one-fifth of the Union army and almost one-third of the Confederate army were killed or wounded; at Chickamauga and at Stone River over one-fourth of the Confederate forces engaged were lost, while the casualties sustained by Grant’s army in the seven-days’ wilderness battles amounted to the same appalling proportion. As to the Napoleonic wars, at Waterloo 40 per cent of the French army—30,000 out of 74,000—were lost in a few hours’ time; at Austerlitz, the French, although overwhelmingly victorious, lost almost one-ninth of the army in one day’s fighting, while the allies lost nearly half of theirs; at Borodino, in a single day, the victorious French suffered casualties of 22½ per cent, the defeated Russians casualties Pg 316 of 50 per cent of the armies engaged; at Aspern, a drawn battle, both French and Austrians lost, in killed and wounded, over one-fourth of the total armies engaged; at Albuera over one-fourth of the French and one-fifth of the allied armies were lost, but the British force, which bore the brunt of the allied fighting, lost 4,100 men out of a total of 8,000 engaged. In the present war, because of an unrescinded order, we are told, a Canadian detachment of 800 left 600 men on the field. But this is more than matched on both sides at Gettysburg, where with no mistake in orders one Confederate regiment lost 720 men out of 800, while a Union regiment lost 82 per cent of the men engaged. Sixty-two Union regiments in this war sustained losses in some single battle in excess of 50 per cent, a record equalled on the southern side by forty-three regiments. Those killed in action today are as irrevocably dead as those killed in any former war; but of those merely wounded (about four-fifths of all battle casualties) the prospect of recovering is incomparably better than in any previous war, while the prospect of death from disease incurred in service is likewise vastly diminished.


It is a foible of most peoples in all generations fondly to picture themselves as braver and hardier than those of other races and times. So, in the present war, it is commonly assumed that greater demands upon the soldier’s fortitude and courage are made than in times gone by. In fact, however, bravery has been throughout the ages probably the commonest attribute of mankind. Soldiers are as brave today as in former times, but no more so. To contemplate a modern bayonet charge or a fight at close grips with gun-butt and knife is far from pleasant. But whereas such fighting is the occasional or exceptional thing today, of old it was the normal mode of fighting. The idea that combat should be waged at a distance was born only with the development of smokeless powder and high-power rifles. As late as Cromwell’s time Pg 317 the pike was the main reliance of infantry in battle. The favorite tactics of Napoleon were based on the idea of overwhelming the opposing army by the shock of mass formations. At Waterloo, for hours his splendid cavalry broke against the British squares, riding round and round at bayonet’s length, seeking to break their outer line. From fighting in the open in mass formation, armies have now largely taken to cover, even as the American Indian did; partly because of this, partly for the other reasons noted, the dangers and the horrors of war today have greatly diminished as compared with former times. Our people should be made acquainted with this fact, and both those who go to war and those who send them forth are entitled to such comfort as may legitimately be derived from it.


One general exception, however, must be taken to the comforting conclusions which have been reached. Broadly speaking, warfare among savages knows no rules and recognizes no limitations of action or honor. Prisoners of war may be slaughtered at once or reserved for the refinements of torture. No distinction of treatment is made between warriors and noncombatants. The lives, the liberty, and the possessions of the conquered social group are subjected to such disposition as the caprice or self-interest of the conquerors may dictate. Following in the path marked out by Grotius, slowly and painfully yet none the less surely, civilized nations have humanized warfare to a marked degree. The rules of civilized war distinguish between soldiers and noncombatants. The rights of the latter, both of person and of property, have been clearly established; even as between contending armies numerous rules have been established, all based on the general idea of regulating and refining war in ways calculated to eliminate its most horrible and debasing manifestations. In this work our own nation has played a leading part and the rules for the guidance of the Union Pg 318 armies adopted by President Lincoln half a century ago, still largely guide the conduct of nations in the waging of war.

With one awful exception, however. Moved by what atavistic influence we know not, in striking contrast to the trend of world development during the last three hundred years, the German government and people in the last half century have evolved the doctrine and subscribed to the principles of shrecklichkeit. As briefly characterized by Bismarck, this policy, or principle of conduct, aims to leave to the enemy nothing except their eyes with which to weep. It lays the ax to the very foundation of the structure of international law, slowly reared through three hundred years of effort. For the rule of right and justice it substitutes the jungle law of tooth and fang. Under its malign influence the whole circuit of the earth is filled with spying and treason, with fraud and strife. On the foul results of this policy, as applied to the conduct of armies, it is superfluous to dwell when addressing readers of the present generation. No sharper commentary upon the sad reversion of modern Germany to the customs and practices of savagery can be afforded than the fact that the rules promulgated by Lincoln for the guidance of the Union armies were drafted by Francis Lieber, one of the most notable men ever driven from reactionary Prussia to seek refuge in the United States. Shrecklichkeit, like revolutionary France in 1792, throws down the gage of battle to the remainder of the civilized world. In 1792, however, revolutionary France voiced the aspirations of the future against the dead weight of the past. Today imperial Germany challenges the civilization of the present and the hopes of the future in the interest of resurgent savagery. The world is too small to contain two such antagonistic sets of ideals and of conduct. Either Prussian shrecklichkeit or the American ideal of order based on reason and justice must prevail.

May we acquit ourselves like men and carry the fight to the finish.

Pg 319


The Wisconsin Historical Library has long maintained a bureau of historical information for the benefit of those who care to avail themselves of the service it offers. In “The Question Box” will be printed from time to time such queries, with the answers made to them, as possess sufficient general interest to render their publication worth while.


I am not able to fix the exact date when Abraham Wood came to Baraboo. What is the opinion of the staff as to the time? He was supposed to be the first permanent settler. A line will be appreciated.

H. E. Cole,
Baraboo, Wisconsin.

We appreciate your difficulty in determining the time of the advent of Abraham Wood on your river, because of the conflict in the authorities. So far as we can determine, the account in the Wisconsin Historical Atlas seems to be the most authoritative. The sketches in this volume were carefully written, and were obtained from survivors then alive. According to that statement the first man who attempted settlement at the Baraboo Rapids in 1837 was Archibald Barker, who then lived at Portage. He was driven off by the Indians. Meanwhile the treaty at Washington had been negotiated, and there seemed more hope that a settlement might be made. In the spring or early summer of 1839 a man named James Alban discovered Devil’s Lake, and he went back to Portage and told Eben Peck, first settler at Madison. Peck had just sold out at the latter place to Robert Ream, and he and Alban set out up the Baraboo and marked out a site at the Rapids, including the water power. As Peck was going back (after a stay of some weeks), apparently he met Wallace Rowan and Abraham Wood, whom he had known well at Madison, coming up from Portage. They staked out their claim at Lyons, where Wood spent the winter.

Pg 320 In the meanwhile James Van Slyke came up from Walworth County in the fall of 1839 and determined to jump Peck’s claim. Van Slyke had had his claim at Lake Geneva jumped by other parties, and was in a bitter and retaliatory frame of mind. After staking out his claim to the rapids of the Baraboo he went back to Walworth and interested James Maxwell in a plan for a mill and persuaded him to furnish the irons and equipment. Van Slyke went up in the spring of 1840 and built a dam which was carried out by the freshet of June. Meanwhile, Peck had brought his claim before the court at Madison and obtained judgment against Van Slyke. The latter had already abandoned the enterprise. Van Slyke sold his irons to Wood and Rowan, who during the summer started a sawmill at the upper rapids.

There seems to be every evidence that the source of this account was the Peck family, who were in a position to know the facts. If this account is true, we suppose Wood might be called the first settler, since he remained in the vicinity during the winter of 1839-40; but no doubt he lived as the Indians did, if not with them, since his wife was a squaw. He was thus not much more of a first settler than Barker, Alban, Rowan, Peck, or Van Slyke.

To return to Wood. We are unable to discover when or how he came to Wisconsin. He was probably a free trapper or trader, one of the rough frontiersmen of Scotch descent from the backwoods of Canada. In the course of trade he came in contact with the Decorah chiefs and took to wife one of the daughters of the tribe. He had probably been on the Baraboo often before 1839, since his squaw’s native village was near its mouth, and there her father died in 1836. Wood was not then at the Baraboo, since he was wintering near Madison. He was not at this site in 1832, so sometime between that date and 1836 he set up his wigwam at Squaw Point on Third Lake opposite the modern city of Madison.

His neighbor at this place was Wallace Rowan, a rough, good-hearted frontiersman from Indiana with a white wife. There is a good account of Rowan in History of Dane County (Chicago, 1880), 382-83. Rowan seems to have permitted Wood to place his wigwam, or whatever kind of dwelling he had, on his claim, which he entered with William B. Long in 1835.

Pg 321 Wood was on Third Lake during the winter of 1836-37, and during the summer of 1837 he aided in building Madison, being employed as a mechanic on Peck’s log house. It seems probable that Wood spent the winter of 1837-38 at the same place, as there is no record of him at Portage before the spring of 1838. Probably he moved away from Squaw Point because Rowan that spring sold his claim and improvements to William B. Slaughter. Rowan moved to Poynette and opened his noted tavern. Wood went to Portage, where, no doubt, he had often been before with the relatives of his squaw.

In 1838 work was begun on the Portage canal, and Wood opened a house of liquid refreshment just below Carpenter’s on the Wisconsin River. There, probably in the spring of 1839, Wood killed Pawnee Blanc, a noted Winnebago chief. Wood’s brother-in-law, John T. La Ronde, tells the sordid story in Wisconsin Historical Collections, VII, 360. He does not give the date of the murder; Moses Paquette says (idem, XII, 431) that it was in 1837. Paquette probably remembered that it was after his father’s death in 1836; but it could hardly have been in 1837 since Wood was then at Madison. Our inference is that the death of Pawnee Blanc occurred in 1838 or 1839. Wood was probably anxious to leave Portage at this time; moreover in 1839 Winfield Scott went to Portage and held a council with the Winnebago concerning their removal from Wisconsin. Wood knew the Baraboo Valley would soon be open for settlement. He persuaded his old friend, Rowan, to go prospecting with him. But on their way out they found Peck and Alban had been there before them. Wood, not wanting to go back to Portage, spent the winter in the Baraboo woods; and the next autumn (1840) with Wallace Rowan began a sawmill, as La Ronde states (Wis. Hist. Colls., VII, 360).

The foregoing hypothesis appears to reconcile all the accounts except Moses Paquette’s date of the killing of Pawnee Blanc. The record of Wood’s trial may sometime come to light. Possibly it may be preserved in the records of the court of Brown County, still kept at the courthouse at Green Bay.


Within a short time we expect to issue a special edition of our local paper that will cover the development of the Chippewa Valley. It struck me that possibly you could furnish me considerable data covering the early history of this section of the valley.

Al J. Hartley,
Cornell, Wisconsin.

Probably the first white person to pass the mouth of the Chippewa was Father Louis Hennepin, who ascended the Mississippi in 1630. He describes the Chippewa under the name of Rivière des Boeufs (Buffalo). It is probable that in his time the Beef Slough was part of the Chippewa channel, and the present Buffalo River an affluent of the Chippewa proper. In 1682 La Salle wrote a description of the rivers of Wisconsin in a letter, the translation of which is found in volume sixteen of the Collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society. He says “About thirty leagues, ascending always in the same direction [above Black River], one comes to the Rivière des Boeufs which is as wide at its mouth as that of the Islinois. It is called by that name owing to the great number of those animals found there; it is followed from ten to twelve leagues, the water being smooth and without rapids, bordered by mountains which widen out from time to time, forming meadows. There are several islands at its mouth, which is bordered by woods on both sides.” La Salle’s description was without doubt taken from the account of Hennepin.

The next visitor to this region was Duluth, who in 1680 rescued Father Hennepin from his captors, the Sioux Indians, and brought him down the Mississippi and by the Wisconsin-Fox route to Green Bay. Duluth has not left any description of the Chippewa.

In 1685 Nicolas Perrot was governor of all of this region. In the Proceedings of this Society for 1915 you will find an account of Perrot’s experiences and of the Fort Antoine that he built at the mouth of the Chippewa. Perrot called the stream River of the Sauteurs, which was the French name for the Chippewa tribe, whom they first met at the Sault, hence Saulteurs or Sauters. Perrot seems to have been the first person to use the name Sauteur or Chippewa for the river. It so appears on a very remarkable map drawn in 1688, Pg 323 and now in Paris. A facsimile of this is in the Wisconsin Historical Library, at Madison, and a photograph appears in L. P. Kellogg’s, Early Narratives of the Northwest (New York, 1917), 342. At Fort St. Antoine, Perrot in 1689 held a great ceremony, taking possession of all the Sioux country for the King of France. A translation of this document is found in volume eleven of the Wisconsin Historical Collections, 35-36.

The name of the river indicates that the Chippewa was the home of some portion of the Chippewa tribe. In the early eighteenth century this valley became the battle ground of the great feud between the Sioux and Chippewa Indians, which lasted nearly one hundred and fifty years. Much interesting material on this subject may be found in Minnesota Historical Collections, volume five, which is a history of the Chippewa tribe by a half-breed, W. W. Warren.

In the year 1766, three years after the French had ceded all this territory to the British crown, the noted explorer, Jonathan Carver, ascended the Mississippi and attempted to bring about a peace between the warring Sioux and Chippewa. The next year he returned from Mackinac, and with a stock of goods ascended the Chippewa River, at whose headwaters he found a Chippewa village of one hundred fine stout warriors. Their customs, however, were very filthy. This is, so far as we know, the first recorded voyage through the Chippewa valley. No doubt, however, many fur traders had preceded Carver, for he speaks of engaging a pilot to accompany him.

In the last years of the French régime there was reported a copper mine on this river, which was then called for a time “Bon Secours” or Good Help River. Carver calls it the Chippewa River. About six years after Carver’s visit a British trader named Hugh Boyle was killed at this river. See Wisconsin Historical Collections, XVIII, 312-13. According to the court of inquiry ordered by the British officials, the affair was his own fault.

The British traders continued to trade on this river, notwithstanding the danger caused by the fierce intertribal wars. In 1805 the United States government sent Zebulon M. Pike, a young army lieutenant, to ascend the Mississippi and warn British traders that this was then American territory. It became so by the treaty of 1783, but the British kept the forts on the Great Lakes until 1796, Pg 324 and all had continued to act until Pike’s visit as if the upper Mississippi region belonged to the British. Pike found that the traders avoided the Chippewa River because of the danger of falling in with war parties of contesting Indians. He passed the river’s mouth about dusk.

In 1820 an American expedition headed by Lewis Cass descended the Mississippi, and from that time on there were numerous boats going up and down. The first steamboat ascended to the Falls of St. Anthony in 1823. Some very early logging expeditions in 1822 and 1829 are described in the Wisconsin Historical Collections, II, 132-41, and V, 244-54.

The earliest permanent settlers were the Cadottes. See Wisconsin Historical Collections, XIX, 171, and Minnesota Historical Collections, volume five.


Can you give me any reference to any publication or record in your library relating to G. W. Manypenny, who was Indian commissioner in 1855 and in that year made a treaty with the Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin?

E. S. Gaylord,
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Colonel George W. Manypenny, who was Indian commissioner in President Pierce’s administration, was not a Wisconsin man. He was born in Pennsylvania, and appointed from Ohio. His home was in Columbus, Ohio, and as early as 1835 he was editor of a prominent Democratic paper at that place. His appointment was no doubt a reward for journalistic services during the campaign; but he seems to have taken his duties seriously and to have undertaken the rôle of a defender of the red men against the extortions of unscrupulous speculators. In doing this he incurred the enmity of a powerful political clique among whom was Senator Benton.

Manypenny went west in August, 1853, and made the series of treaties that opened up the territories of Kansas and Nebraska for settlement. It is claimed that he acted in the interests of the South with regard to the Pacific railroad. See Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1912, 80. In 1855 Manypenny made the treaty Pg 325 with the Mississippi bands of Chippewa at Washington, whither their chiefs had been conducted by Henry M. Rice.

Manypenny retired from office in March, 1857, and returned to Columbus where, in 1859, he purchased a half interest in the Ohio Statesman and was its editor for three years. In 1862 he retired to become manager of the state public works, of which he was one of the lessees. His interest in the Indians continued, and in 1876 he was appointed a chairman of the commission to investigate the troubles that had led to the Sioux outbreak of that year. In 1880 he published a book entitled Our Indian Wards (Cincinnati, Robert Clark & Co.), which is a plea for more fairness in the management of Indian affairs, and a recital of many of their wrongs.

The date of his death we have not ascertained, nor whether he left descendants. An inquiry of E. W. Randall, secretary of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society, at Columbus, would doubtless put you in possession of these facts.


Will you kindly advise me what “Treaty Hall,” La Pointe, Madeline Island, stands for historically? When and by whom was it built? Some say it was erected in 1836 and others say 1857 or 1858. The treaties were signed before the latter date, so why call it “Treaty Hall”? Any information you can give on the subject will be greatly appreciated.

Mrs. Frank H. Jerrard,
Representative St. Paul Chapter, D. A. R.,
St. Paul, Minnesota.

The information we have obtained concerning the building on Madeline Island now called “Treaty Hall” does not give conclusive proof of the origin of the building. One fact seems clear—the name “Treaty Hall” was not applied to it until the eighties of the last century, and the building was not put up to accommodate the negotiating of a treaty. Whether a treaty was negotiated in this building or not is another question. As a rule Indian treaty proceedings were held in the open air; if any covering was desired, a kind of shade was built of boughs, or a circle was temporarily enclosed with poles, boughs, and mats. Nevertheless it is not improbable that in Pg 326 the northern region of Madeline Island, with the cold winds from the lake blowing in, a treaty might have been held under shelter, and that some appropriate building might have been thus used.

There were only two treaties held on Madeline Island, that of 1842 and that of 1854. The former was concluded October 4, 1842, and the commissioner was Robert Stuart, who had been for many years the representative of the American Fur Company at Mackinac. He was at the time of this treaty Indian superintendent at Detroit. The inference is strong that Stuart was on terms of friendship, even intimacy, with the American Fur Company’s agents at La Pointe. These were at the time of the treaty of 1842 Charles H. Oakes and Dr. Charles W. Borup, both of whom were present at the treaty. Moreover, Rev. Alfred Brunson of Prairie du Chien, a prominent Methodist missionary in early-day Wisconsin, was appointed Indian agent at La Pointe in the autumn of 1842. He reached his post of duty very late in the year and says both in his printed reminiscences and in unpublished manuscripts in our Society’s possession that there were no agency buildings, but that Dr. Borup had a large storehouse prepared for a council.

With regard to the Treaty of 1854, it was signed September 30 of that year. The commissioners were Henry C. Gilbert and Daniel B. Herriman. Among the witnesses was L. H. Wheeler, whose sons are among our correspondents. H. M. Rice was likewise present. We believe the Minnesota Historical Society is in possession of the latter’s papers. If so, something might be gleaned from them.

Pg 327



As a medieval Madisonian, I protest against your summary termination of the activities of “Cap” Barnes at “1873 or 1874, perhaps later.”[127] He was positively an institution in and of Madison, and I positively remember him and his steamboat line at least as late as 1889. His steamboats, the Scutenaubequon and the Waubishnepawau, lent new terrors to the aboriginal tongues. His later divergence to Silenzioso bore witness to the liveliness, if not the expertness, of his linguistic imagination. No Madisonian of the Victorian age, so to speak, will recall “Angleworm Station” without a warming of the heart to the memory of “Cap” Barnes. His midwinter straw hat and his irrepressible gaiety are intimately associated with our tenderest Madison memories. Picnics? Madison was the home of them, and “Cap” Barnes and his steamboat, in combination, were preëssential to them. It was “Cap” Barnes who hit upon the first discovered practical use of the abortive capitol park driven well: “Pull it up, saw it into lengths, and sell it to the farmers for post holes.”

Statesmen, prophets, and nabobs, Mr. Editor, may pass into oblivion—but touch reverently on the memory of “Cap” Barnes. Madison would never have been the Madison of its golden age without him.

Charles M. Morris.

Milwaukee, January 7, 1918.


I have just received the first copy of the new Wisconsin Magazine of History, and think it a splendid idea. Of course, I have not had time to examine it carefully, but I did run across the short article with reference to the state flag, which seems rather to carry the idea that Wisconsin had no state flag at any time prior to 1913.

Pg 328 I call your attention to a letter written by me to H. W. Rood, Custodian of Memorial Hall, under date of January 5, 1911, in which I said:

In response to your verbal request of a few days since, I have investigated the matter of the state flag of Wisconsin.

Chapter 215 of the Laws of 1863, published April 10th 1863, provided in part as follows:

“Whenever the state flags of the regiments in the service of the United States, from this state, shall have become so far worn and damaged by service that it is deemed necessary to replace them, and the officers commanding any of the said regiments shall inform the governor of such fact, and make requisition for new flags, the governor is hereby authorized to cause to be furnished to such regiments new flags; the state flag to be of the design, plan and material as adopted by this legislature, by joint resolution No. 44, Senate; and one of the said flags shall be inscribed with the names of the battles in which such regiments shall have taken an honorable part.”

I do not find that there was a joint resolution No. 44 of that year. Resolution No. 4, however, is evidently the one referred to and that provides as follows:

“Resolved, by the senate, the assembly concurring, that the following be and is hereby adopted as the design for a state flag for the state of Wisconsin:

“State Flag.—To be of dark blue silk, with the arms of the State of Wisconsin painted or embroidered in silk on the obverse side, and the arms of the United States, as prescribed in paragraph 1435 of 'new army regulations,’ painted or embroidered in silk on the reverse side; the name of the regiment, when used as a regimental flag, to be in a scroll beneath the state arms.

“The size of the regiment colors to be six feet, six inches fly, and six feet deep on the pike; the length of pike for said colors, including spear and ferrule, to be nine feet, ten inches; the fringe yellow, cords and tassels blue and white silk intermixed.”

This resolution was approved March 25, 1863.

Chapter 248 of the laws of 1864, published April 15, 1864, repealed chapter 215 of the laws of 1863, but provided in part as follows:

“The state flag to be of the design, plan and material as adopted by the legislature of this state by joint resolution No. 44, senate, at the session of 1863, and one of said flags shall be inscribed with the names of the battles in which such regiment or battery shall have taken an honorable part.”

Joint Resolution No. 6, approved March 3, 1863, read as follows:

“Resolved, that the superintendent of public property be and he is hereby authorized to purchase two national flags and two state flags, one each of which he shall place over the president’s chair in the senate chamber, and one each over the speaker’s chair in the assembly chamber, where they shall remain during each session of the legislature.”

Pg 329 I do not find any other laws or resolutions relating to this flag until the adoption of the revised statutes of 1878, section 4978 of which provides in part that

“The following acts of the legislature, passed in the several years hereinafter enumerated, shall be repealed, that is to say:”

Then follows a table of the laws thus repealed and among them I find chapter 248 of the laws of 1864. I believe that this ends the legislation in relation to a state flag and that the State of Wisconsin no longer has such a flag.

In the pamphlet published by Doctor Thwaites entitled Wisconsin’s Emblems and Sobriquet he refers to chapter 167 of the laws of Wisconsin of 1907 (section 633m of the Wisconsin statutes), which provides:

“The organization, armament and discipline of the Wisconsin national guard shall be the same as that which is now, or may hereafter be prescribed for the regular and volunteer armies of the United States.”

He seems to think that the state flag is now as provided in paragraph 222 of the United States army regulations for 1904—the colors to be of silk, five feet, six inches fly, and four feet, four inches on the pike, which shall be nine feet long, including spear head and ferrule. From this article I should assume that he considers that chapter 167 of the laws of 1907 is the law that repealed the prior law providing for a state flag. As will be seen from the references herein given, this law was repealed upon the adoption of the revised statutes of 1878.

This may not be of any particular importance, except that as a matter of historical accuracy, it should be noted that Wisconsin, in fact, did for several years have a State Flag.

Very truly yours,
Winfield W. Gilman.

Madison, October 24, 1917.

[127] See Wisconsin Magazine of History for December, 1917, 196.

Pg 330



During the quarter ending December 31, 1917, five new life and twenty-four annual members were added to the State Historical Society. The new life members are: Henry F. De Puy, of New York City; Walter S. Lacher, of La Grange, Illinois; Thomas E. Lyons, of Madison; Chester H. Thordarson, of Chicago; and J. Russell Wheeler, of Columbus, Wisconsin. The list of new annual members is as follows: Rev. A. S. Badger, Waukesha; George Banta, Menasha; George Banta, Jr., Menasha; Dr. Robert C. Brown, Milwaukee; Arthur J. Dopp, Waukesha; Emerson Ela, Madison; Judge Oscar M. Fritz, Milwaukee; Professor J. L. Gillen, Madison; L. H. Gingles, Waukesha; George Bird Grinnell, New York City; William G. Hanson, Milwaukee; George C. Holmes, Madison; John T. Kenney, Madison; Professor A. C. Kingsford, Baraboo; Gilbert L. Lacher, Chicago; Judge David W. Maloney, Ladysmith; Dean Lois K. Mathews, Madison; Carl E. Nord, Sioux City; Cyril A. Peerenboom, Appleton; A. L. Saltzstein, Milwaukee; Judge James E. Thomas, Waukesha; Frank J. Wilder, Boston; Edwin E. Witte, Madison; and Henry M. Youmans, Waukesha.

Dr. James W. Vance of Madison died October 31, 1917. Dr. Vance had been a member of the State Historical Society for thirty years. Mr. Walter P. Bishop, vice president of the E. P. Bacon Company of Milwaukee and since 1909 a member of the State Historical Society, died October 10, 1917. Mr. Michael A. Hurley of Wausau, a member of the Society since 1906, died September 25, 1917. Mr. Archie E. Wood, of Whitehall, died October 8, 1917.

Rev. Eugene G. Updike, of Madison, whose completion of a twenty-seven-year pastorate of the First Congregational Church was noted in a recent number of this magazine, died at the Madison General Hospital December 24, 1917. Dr. Updike was a life member of the State Historical Society, and throughout his long pastorate at Madison had taken an active part in civic and educational affairs generally.

Hon. Thomas E. Nash, of Grand Rapids, for sixteen years a life member of the State Historical Society, died at his home December 13, 1917. Mr. Nash was brought to Wisconsin in infancy by his parents. He had been engaged in railroad work for many years when in 1882 he was appointed by Postmaster General Vilas chief Pg 331 clerk of the post office department and the following year general superintendent of the railway mail service. In 1888 Mr. Nash organized the Nekoosa Pulp and Paper Company with which he continued to be prominently associated until ill health forced his retirement from active work a few years ago.

Volume XXIV of the Society’s Collections, entitled Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 1779-1781, copy for which was sent to the state printer in December, 1916, at length came from the press in December, 1917, and was distributed the first of the year to the Society’s members and exchanges. The reading of galley proof on Volume XXV of the Collections was completed early in December. The contents of this volume, entitled An English Settler in Pioneer Wisconsin: the Letters of Edwin Bottomley, 1842-1850, differ markedly from those of any preceding volume of the Collections. The papers printed present a rarely intimate picture of the life and problems of the pioneer Wisconsin farmer and constitute, it is believed, a valuable contribution of source material to the history of the territorial period of Wisconsin’s development.

With the establishment of the Wisconsin Magazine of History it is no longer necessary, as it has been for upwards of a generation, to print historical contributions and discussions in the annual volume known as the Proceedings of the Society. Shorn of this supplementary historical matter, the official report of the activities of the Society and its auxiliaries for 1917 shrinks to a document of less than 100 pages. Copy for this was sent to the state printer in January. Should the Magazine prove, on sufficient trial, to justify the continuance of its existence, the scope and character of the contents of the Proceedings for 1917 will set the standard, presumably, for the issues of succeeding years.

A brief statement concerning four important editorial enterprises now being prosecuted may be in order. Work on the series of volumes designed to constitute a documentary history of Wisconsin’s constitution, which has been prosecuted intermittently by the Superintendent for the past two years, has now reached a stage where it seems likely that copy for one volume can be sent to the printer before the close of the Society’s present fiscal year. Probably four volumes will be requisite to complete the series. After the editing of the first one shall have been completed, the remaining ones may be expected to follow in fairly rapid order. Work on the second volume of the Draper Calendar series, mention of which was made in the Magazine for September, 1917, has progressed haltingly, due to the war-time disruption of the office staff. It now seems safe to predict that the copy will be ready for the printer by the end of the month. The other enterprises alluded to were both Pg 332 initiated in the autumn of 1917. Dr. Kellogg began work at that time on the preparation of a volume of source material pertaining to the Indian treaties and land cessions which are of more particular interest to Wisconsin. This project has long been in mind, but its execution was necessarily deferred until the search for documents in the Indian Office Files, begun three years ago, should be completed. Dr. Oliver began in September the editing of a volume of source material in the Society’s manuscript collection pertaining to Wisconsin’s activities in the Civil War. With this volume will be initiated a Civil War series of the Collections which will in time, it is hoped, run to many volumes.

A note may be inserted here concerning three items of lesser scope and importance than the foregoing, all of them bibliographical in character. A trenchant and thoroughgoing report on the state archives situation in Wisconsin, prepared for the Society by Mr. Theodore Blegen in the summer of 1917, was sent to the printer early in the winter. Copy for a supplementary checklist of the collection of newspapers in the Historical Library to list the accessions from the time of publication in 1911 of the Society’s monumental Annotated Catalogue of Newspaper Files down to January 1, 1918, has been under preparation for more than a year. It has at length been sent to the printer, and will appear in due time as one of the Society’s Bulletins of Information. Taken in conjunction with the Annotated Catalogue, this bulletin will afford a complete index to the Society’s splendid collection of newspapers, the second largest, it is believed, in America. It is hoped that in the future, annual supplements of the previous year’s accumulations may be issued in connection with the annual checklist of Periodicals and Newspapers Currently Received by the Library. In February, 1917, the Society began the publication of a monthly Checklist of Wisconsin Public Documents the contents of each number pertaining to the state documents issued during the preceding month. This publication has proved of much usefulness, apparently, and is in widespread demand by librarians, students of the social sciences, and governmental departments. A cumulative checklist of all state documents issued during the year 1917 has been prepared and will be issued as soon as practicable.

The project for the initial volume of the Society’s Hollister Pharmaceutical Series, made possible by the bequest of the late Colonel and Mrs. Hollister of Madison, has at length assumed definite and, it is believed, interesting form. According to the original plan, Dr. Edward Kremers of the University Pharmacy Department undertook to translate and edit for the Society Pierre Jartu’s notable treatise on the ginseng plant. In the course of the work this project Pg 333 has gradually enlarged until now, with the coöperation of Dr. Richtmann, it is proposed to prepare a comprehensive treatise of the several aspects, pharmaceutical, commercial, and otherwise, of the history of ginseng. Such a volume should worthily initiate this unique scientific series for which the Society has long been planning.

Colonel John Hicks of Oshkosh, publisher of the Daily Northwestern and one of the best known newspaper men in Wisconsin, died suddenly at San Antonio, Texas, December 20, 1917. Colonel Hicks was much interested in Wisconsin history, in the making of which he had been for fifty years an active participant. At the time of his death, he was engaged in writing his reminiscences for publication in the Northwestern, and within a few days of his demise had taken up with the State Historical Society the question of possible publication by it of his reminiscences in book form. As a result of Colonel Hick’s public beneficence, statues of Chief Oshkosh and of Carl Schurz adorn his home city, while in several of the public schools are bronze busts of prominent Americans for whom the buildings are severally named.

Mr. William H. Ellsworth of Milwaukee, one of Wisconsin’s best known archeological collectors, died November 6, 1917. At the time of his death Mr. Ellsworth was vice president of the Wisconsin Archeological Society. To the work of that institution he had devoted a large part of his time and means. Valuable archeological collections made by him are found in the museums of Beloit College, in the Minnesota Historical Society, and in the Milwaukee Public Museum.

John F. Appleby, inventor of the Appleby twine binder, died at his home in Chicago, November 8, 1917. Mr. Appleby was one of the notable Wisconsin inventors who have contributed materially to the scientific and economic development of the country. During the decade of the fifties, when the great West was unfolding its agricultural riches, the farmers suddenly realized that the only limitation upon the amount of their wheat acreage was their ability to harvest the crop. The McCormick reaper had already made its appearance, but it served only to cut the grain, leaving it lying loose upon the ground to be bound by hand. Some device for holding the grain and binding it into sheaves was essential before the wheat acreage of the West could be materially increased. After years of experimentation in a little shop in Beloit, Appleby announced the construction of a mechanical twine binder. The original model of his invention, which is substantially identical with the device now in use on scores of thousands of farms in America and abroad, may be seen in the museum of the State Historical Society at Madison.

Pg 334 Mr. Christian Abrahamson, of Chicago, has recently painted a portrait of former Supreme Court Judge J. E. Dodge, of Milwaukee, for presentation to the State Historical Society. A replica of the portrait has also been prepared for the Supreme Court room in the Capitol.

Mr. C. E. Freeman, of Menomonie, Wisconsin, has presented to the Society an interesting document pertaining to the railroad farm-mortgage projects of the fifties in Wisconsin. Readers of Mr. Merk’s Economic History of Wisconsin During the Civil War Decade, published by the Society last year, need not be told how important was the rôle played by the railroad farm mortgage in the economic and political annals of early Wisconsin. The document presented by Mr. Freeman is a contract between the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad and a farmer, whereby the railroad company agrees to cancel the interest on the individual’s farm mortgage in return for the relinquishment by the latter of his prospective dividends on his railroad stock. This was a central feature of the farm mortgage scheme, yet at the time of writing his Economic History, Mr. Merk was unable to uncover any direct documentary evidence concerning it. This hiatus in the Society’s collection of historical material pertaining to the subject of railroad farm mortgages is now filled by the gift of Mr. Freeman.

A fine bronze bas relief of Mary Elizabeth Mears, better known, perhaps, by her pen name, Nellie Wildwood, has been received by the Society from her daughter in New York. The bas relief is the work of another daughter of Mrs. Mears, Helen Farnsworth Mears, who was for many years prior to her death in 1916 one of Wisconsin’s most notable artists. The “Recollections” of Mrs. Mears were published in the Proceedings of the Society for 1916. The Madison Art Association has secured for hanging in the State Historical Museum a copy of Miss Mears’s Augustus St. Gaudens.

Colonel Michael Frank, “father of the free public school system of Wisconsin,” was born in New York in 1804 and died in Kenosha in 1895. He came to Southport (now Kenosha) to reside in October, 1839. Three months later, on January 1, 1840, he began keeping a diary. Upon its conclusion, December 31, 1890, this work had continued half a century and filled thirty-nine bound manuscript volumes. Throughout this half-century Colonel Frank figured as one of the prominently useful citizens of the territory and state. His voluminous diary has now come to the State Historical Society from its possessor, Mr. F. H. Lyman, of Kenosha, an old neighbor and friend of Colonel Frank. The diary is well preserved and written in an excellent hand. Although only a cursory examination has as yet been made of its contents, it seems evident that the work will Pg 335 prove a valuable aid to students interested in this period of Wisconsin’s history.


From a bas relief owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society

A collection of papers of Governor Nelson Dewey, consisting principally of a business account book and several annual volumes of his diary, has been presented to the Society by Mr. R. A. Watkins of Lancaster. The diary of Governor Dewey seems to have been widely scattered. Some volumes of it have long been in the Historical Library, and several more are in the possession of a resident of Cassville.

Several interesting additions of noncurrent newspaper files were made to the Library during the quarter ending December 31, 1917. Most interesting locally, perhaps, is a file of Lucifer, 1884-98, in fifteen bound volumes. Publication of Lucifer was begun at Madison in 1882; later it was continued at Milwaukee until the demise of the paper in 1898. Published in German, it was the organ of the Turner societies, and manifested a liberal and anti-Catholic viewpoint. To the Society’s slowly-growing file of photostatic copies of the Boston News Letter all known existing issues for the years 1726-29, inclusive, were acquired during the quarter. Other files of Massachusetts papers acquired are the Newburyport Evening Union (daily), January 1-September 18, 1851, and Russell’s Gazette (Boston, semi-weekly), January-July, 1800. Finally, two Ohio papers were added: the Cleveland Recorder, 1896-97, and July-December, 1899, in four volumes, and the Cincinnati Graphic, August, 1885-November, 1886, in two volumes.

From Captain George Jackson of Chicago the Society has received a rare volume possessed of much sentimental interest. It is “Dr. Mort. Luther’s Lesser Catechism,” published in New York in 1842. But one other copy of the book is known to be in existence and this is in private hands. The Lesser Catechism was the first book in the Norwegian language to be printed in America.

A scrapbook filled with clippings concerning the Kansas troubles and the Civil War has been presented to the State Historical Society by Louis W. Bridgman, son of Edward Bridgman, who died in Madison in August, 1915. Mr. Bridgman migrated to “Bleeding Kansas” from Massachusetts in the spring of 1856. Staking out a claim near Osawatomie, he soon took up living quarters with the brother of Susan B. Anthony, who was also a Massachusetts crusader in the cause of freedom. To their cabin one evening late in August, 1856, came John Brown with his band of tired followers. Here they spent the night and were having breakfast the next morning, when news arrived of the impending attack upon Osawatomie by a large band of proslavery Missourians. Leaving the unfinished meal, Brown and his men started to meet the invaders. Bridgman and Anthony Pg 336 followed as soon as they could pull their cooking utensils from the open fire. Thus Bridgman participated in Osawatomie, John Brown’s most notable battle, and lived to become probably the last survivor of Brown’s band of followers on that day.

A few years later, having returned to Massachusetts, he enlisted in the Thirty-seventh Infantry in which he served during the Civil War. A school teacher by profession, he wrote frequent letters to the press, both during his Civil War career and in later years, describing his experiences, and retailing his recollections. The scrapbook now presented by his son, and largely made up of such clippings, constitutes a valuable contribution to the Society’s collection of Civil War material.

The September number of the Magazine contained an account of the gift to the state of Perrot State Park, including in its limits Trempealeau Mountain and the site of Perrot’s “fort” or wintering place of 1689. It is gratifying to be able to record the gift at Christmas time of another splendid park site to the state. Mr. Martin Pattison of Superior is the donor whose enlightened generosity makes possible the preservation for public use and enjoyment of the Manitou Falls of Black River, some fifteen miles out of Superior. Mr. Pattison has been quietly at work for several years securing the title to some 600 acres of woodland around the falls, “Douglas County’s most cherished beauty spot,” in order to make this public disposition of it. Thus another bit of historic Wisconsin scenery gives promise of being permanently preserved in its virgin state for the enjoyment of future generations of Wisconsin citizens.

During the holiday season the State Historical Museum had on exhibit a small Christmas tree, decorated with patriotic emblems of all the allied countries. Diminutive flags representing the national colors, Red Cross flags, food conservation buttons, a miniature Red Cross service flag, tiny bundles of liberty bonds, diminutive airplanes, and machine guns were all displayed. Small gilt discs, representing each of the camps in which Wisconsin boys are training, were also displayed. All of the decorations were arranged so as to embody the red, white, and blue color scheme.

Mr. Charles E. Graves, formerly exchange librarian of the University of Illinois, became librarian of the Minnesota Historical Society at St. Paul, November 1, 1917.

During the closing months of 1917 the Minnesota Historical Society moved into its splendid new home which has been in the process of erection during the last two years. As the historical development of Wisconsin and of Minnesota has much in common, it is but natural that the relations between the historical societies of the two states should be cordial and intimate. That the further Pg 337 career of the Minnesota Historical Society shall be such that before many years the new home will prove to be as inadequate as the old one has long been, is the best wish we, in behalf of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, can extend to it at this season of congratulation.

The Michigan Historical Commission is actively engaged in a campaign to save the important state documents and archives of the commonwealth. Recently the original copy of the first Michigan constitution (1835) was found in the state capitol hidden away in an old tin can, where it had been placed many years ago. The ends of the document were so badly mutilated that the names of some of the signers could no longer be read. Appropriate treatment to insure against further deterioration of this priceless manuscript was applied, and it is now suitably housed in the capitol building. The preliminary step looking to the establishment of an archival department for Michigan has already been taken by the historical commission. Messrs. F. B. Streeter and J. H. Russell have been engaged to collect, arrange, and classify the archives of the state, and have already entered upon this important work.


In a bulletin published by the Wisconsin Highway Commission in September, 1917, on the state trunk highway law, the announcement is made that there is available from the federal government $128,361.07. During the next four years it is estimated there will be a total of $1,925,416.05 available for road construction in Wisconsin. The federal law provides that a state, in order to receive this appropriation, must set aside each year an amount at least equal to that provided by the national government. The money thus derived may be expended upon any public road over which the United States mails are now or may hereafter be transported. The State Highway Commission predicts that by the close of the year 1918 Wisconsin will have a system of travelable roads connecting all county seats and all the principal centers of population in the state. Wisconsin is already one of the leading good-roads states in the country; under the operation of the new law this position of leadership should easily be retained.

The Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, issued in September, 1917, indicates that the two years just closed have been the most fruitful and active in the entire history of public education in Wisconsin. The state educational staff has been increased by the addition of a supervisor of manual training, Pg 338 a supervisor of tests and measurements, an editorial and statistical secretary, and an additional supervisor of city and village grades. The report is particularly valuable in that it includes not only a compilation of all the data dealing with the public schools, but also a system of graphs, diagrams, and charts which set forth in striking manner the educational facts of the state. By these illustrations the reader is able to see on a single page all the facts relating to any one phase of education.

A most suggestive pamphlet entitled Illiteracy and Americanization, prepared by Amy Bronsky, was issued from the office of the state superintendent of public instruction in October, 1917. The vital importance of educating and Americanizing every person within our borders is well set forth. According to the census of 1910, Wisconsin had 57,769 illiterates over ten years of age, and 120,665 non-English speaking residents over ten years of age. Miss Bronsky adds that, notwithstanding the efforts made to reduce this number, it is probable that it has been growing larger rather than smaller since the year 1910. Wisconsin’s percentage of illiteracy (3.2) is lower than that of the country at large, but not so low as in two of our neighboring states, Minnesota (3) and Iowa (1.7). By the establishment of the continuation schools, night sessions, reading circles, and other allied agencies, it is believed that the next decade will show a considerable decrease in the percentage of illiteracy.

The Proceedings of the Wisconsin State Conference of Charities and Corrections for 1916 deal almost exclusively with the one problem of feeble-mindedness. Never before has the importance of this subject been brought so strikingly to the attention of the social workers of Wisconsin. The first report ever submitted dealing with these unfortunates in our midst was made at this conference. It reveals the fact, surprising to most people, that there are over 13,000 of them in the state. Of this number only 5,000 can be accommodated in the institutions that are now provided. The imperative need of securing additional facilities for their care and instruction was the chief problem dealt with by the conference.

The 1917 Annual Report of the State Horticultural Society shows that field work is now being conducted at eleven different points throughout the state. At Polar, Maple, Whitehall, Manitowoc, Sparta, Baraboo, Holcombe, Pewaukee, Gays Mills, Lake Geneva, and Weston experiments are under way. The supervision of trial orchards at the stations constitutes the major part of the society’s activities, and absorbs the larger portion of its funds. The trial orchard at Gays Mills is regarded as the best of its age in the state.

That the reading-circle movement has made great progress in Wisconsin during the last two years is shown by the report issued Pg 339 for 1917-1918, which reveals an increase of over 175 per cent in the number of persons who are doing work under the auspices of this organization. An increase of more than 300 per cent in the number of boys and girls reading under the direction of the Young People’s Circles is reported. Upwards of 2,500 teachers and more than 24,000 pupils did the required reading in their respective circles during the last school year. Fifty-four counties took part in the Young People’s Reading Circle, and fifty in the Teachers’ Circle. Of the cities that have taken the lead in the number of members enrolled in the Young People’s Circle, Janesville heads the list with 507. Marinette County leads in the number of seals and diplomas granted to teachers with a total of 158.

That the town mutual fire insurance companies in Wisconsin experienced their usual increase in business during the last year is seen from their Forty-eighth Annual Report issued in 1917. The insurance in force at the close of the business year in December, 1916, was $28,943,362 more than at the close of the preceding year. Practically the entire agricultural interests of the state are protected by some one of these mutual companies. The prediction is made that the territory will remain about the same in the future as at the present. The only change in business to be looked for will be the gradual increase in the value of rural property and improved conditions making for increased insurance. Only one new company has entered the field—the North Wisconsin Finnish Farmers of Marengo.

The December (1917) number of the Wisconsin Library Bulletin presents what is practically a first report of the work done in this state in raising funds for camp libraries. Wisconsin’s contribution to the million dollar fund was approximately $41,000. Since our quota, according to the basis of population, was slightly over $25,000, it will be seen that the state not only did her share but greatly exceeded it.

The Wisconsin State Board of Health Bulletin for September, 1917, reports that during the preceding three months 6,230 deaths occurred in the state. This corresponds to an annual death rate of 9.9 a thousand of the population. This record shows a decline of 422 in the total number of deaths when compared to the report for the same three months in 1916. It is interesting to note that during the three months covered by this report—July, August, and September—the death rate in the northern part of the state was only 8.6 a thousand, in the central counties, 10 a thousand, and in the southern counties, 10.4 a thousand.

The Proceedings of the Fifty-first Annual Encampment of the Department of Wisconsin Grand Army of the Republic, 1917, shows that at the beginning of the year there were only 4,247 surviving Pg 340 members left. The highest membership ever reached by the Wisconsin organization was in 1899 when there were 13,944 enrolled. Death claimed 420 of the veterans during the year from December 31, 1915, to December 31, 1916.

The Opinions of the Attorney-General of Wisconsin issued for October, 1917, shows that his advice was sought upon thirty-seven different questions. The uncertainties attending the statutes relating to the construction of bridges and highways brought forth the largest number of inquiries. The duties of public officers, particularly county officials, and the interpretation of the fish and game laws also required a large number of opinions to be handed down at that time of the year.

The Consolidated Annual Reports of the Wisconsin Dairyman’s Association for the annual meetings of 1913, 1914, 1915, and 1916 was issued in July, 1917. The report shows that since the organization of the association in 1872, the dairy products of the state have increased from $1,000,000 to over $120,000,000. Wisconsin now stands first among the states both in the value of dairy products and in the number of dairy cows. In July, 1917, there were 81 cow-testing associations. The total membership was 2,417, while the number of cows under test exceeded 38,000. The average cow in Wisconsin produces 175 pounds of fat a year, although there was one herd reported where the average reached 564 pounds of fat.

Fuel Conservation by the Economical Combustion of Soft Coal by Gustus Ludwig Larson is the title of Bulletin No. 888 of the University of Wisconsin issued in December, 1917. The author declares that many plants waste through unscientific firing and inadequate equipment as much as fifty per cent of the coal they buy. The criminal waste in the burning of coal in which many firemen engage is regarded as the most serious problem facing our people during the winter season. The question of proper combustion, both in the firing power plants and in domestic heating, and a discussion of the different devices for burning soft coal without smoke are set forth in a practical manner by Professor Larson. A table showing the characteristic analyses of soft coal available to Wisconsin buyers is included in the bulletin.


Professor F. A. Ogg of the University of Wisconsin, and a member of the State Historical Society, is the author of a new volume entitled National Progress, 1907 to 1917. All students of American history are familiar with the monumental coöperative history of our country edited by Professor Hart of Harvard, entitled The American Nation. This work in twenty-seven volumes was completed in 1907. Pg 341 Professor Ogg’s new book is designed to bring the work down to date by covering the history of the nation for the decade ending with 1917.

The recent volume by Dr. Kellogg, Research Associate in the State Historical Society, entitled Early Narratives of the Northwest 1634-1699, is reviewed in the American Historical Review in part as follows:

“If the early history of Wisconsin and neighboring regions is not adequately accessible to future generations, it will be through no fault of a group of zealous and competent students who, perhaps inspired by the examples of Draper, the collector, and Thwaites, editor and collector, continue the work in true historical spirit and scientific method. If Wisconsin is fortunate in her students, she is also abundantly rich in material for study. * * * For all of the journals Miss Kellogg’s abundant annotation is helpful. We wish she had added one more note, explaining Raddison’s wonderful word auxotacicae (p. 65). The clearly-penned introduction to each narrative not merely summarizes it, but informs the student of what printing it has already had, either in French or English, and makes plain the editor’s choice of text. Not the least interesting feature of the work is a facsimile of a contemporary map drawn to illustrate Marquette’s discoveries, here reproduced from the original in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. A portion of Franquelin’s map of 1688 is also given. Few typographical slips are noted; even La Salle (Cavelier), recorded in more than one work as 'Chevalier,’ gets through safely here, with but one transformation into 'Cavalier’ (p. 164).

“The volume as a whole bespeaks scholarly care and regard for the needs of a large class of students to whom rare volumes or obscure texts may not be available; and admirably presents the essential original material of the first half-century and more, from the first known advent of the white man in the pays d’en haut.”

Wisconsin’s Social Democracy is a forty-six page pamphlet by Hon. Frederick W. von Cotzhausen, of Milwaukee, printed in advance from a projected volume containing the author’s “Historic Reminiscences and Reflections.” The pamphlet now issued consists of three parts written respectively in 1906, 1914, and 1917, and aims at “Sketching a few Episodes” in the history of Socialism in Wisconsin “which may be of future historical interest and of which I may speak from personal observation.” The tone and sentiments of the author are strongly antisocialistic in character.

Henry Baird Favill, A.B., M.D., LL.D., 1860-1916, is the title of a memorial volume, privately printed, to this noted son of Wisconsin. Wisconsin has produced many great physicians but Pg 342 of them all none has achieved worthier fame than did Doctor Favill. Born in Madison in 1860, the capital city continued to be his home until 1894. He then removed to Chicago where in a few years he gained recognition not only as one of the city’s leading physicians but also as one of the most industrious civic workers and useful citizens. The memorial volume, compiled by his son, contains two parts: one devoted to tributes and resolutions, the other to addresses and papers by Doctor Favill. The wide range of topics covered by the latter and the charm of style and breadth of vision manifested in their treatment afford a glimpse, at least, of the intellectual and human greatness of their author.

To the La Crosse Tribune for November 4, 1917, E. S. Hebberd contributes a proposal that the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Cadwalader C. Washburn, which occurs in 1918, be observed in fitting manner. The Washburn family is remarkable for the ability and the public careers of its members. All of the seven brothers achieved distinction. Four were members of Congress, each representing a different state. Two were governors of their respective states, and two, including one of the congressmen, were ministers of the United States to foreign countries. Wisconsin owes a debt of gratitude to C. C. Washburn, and it would seem fitting that appropriate recognition should be made of the centennial of his birth.

The Wisconsin Archeologist for July, 1917, has as its leading article a survey of Lake Shawano and the Wolf River, by George R. Fox and H. O. Younger. As a water route the Wolf River was long used by the American Trading Company in reaching its trading stations in northern Wisconsin. The survey here presented constitutes a valuable historical and archeological discussion of this region. The October number is chiefly devoted to a survey of Chetek and Rice lakes written by Charles E. Brown and Robert Becker.

Charles A. Eastman’s From the Deep Woods to Civilization, published by Little, Brown and Company, is a fascinating volume. The author, a full-blooded Sioux, began life as a barbarian of the plains, his family having fled to Canada after the Sioux outbreak of 1862 in Minnesota. The present volume tells the story of his life from the time when his father determined to dedicate him to a civilized career. It is interesting to note that from an enthusiastic believer in the superiority of civilized life as compared with savagery, the author has come gradually to doubt the correctness of his earlier view. Apparently the present world cataclysm, which has swept many another thinker from his accustomed moorings, has had some influence upon Mr. Eastman’s views concerning the respective merits of the civilized and the savage states. Wisconsin readers of the book will take special interest in the chapter “College Life in the West,” Pg 343 describing the author’s experiences at Beloit College, to which place the young neophyte in the arts of the paleface turned on leaving the Santee Agency Mission School.

Methodist Heroes of Other Days by Samuel Gardiner Ayer has been issued by the Methodist Book Concern. It is a slight volume containing some thirty-six short appreciative sketches of as many “heroes” of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. Wisconsin readers will be particularly interested in the short account of “Alfred Brunson, the Soldier Preacher,” one of the founders of the Methodist Episcopal church in Wisconsin. Readers of the Magazine will be interested still further, perhaps, to learn that a daughter of Reverend Brunson is at the present time engaged in writing a biography of her father for the State Historical Society.

The December, 1917, number of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review maintains the high standard of excellence which readers have been led, by the character of previous numbers, to expect in this periodical. The three leading articles are: “Howell Cobb and the Crisis of 1850,” by R. P. Brooks; “A Larger View of the Yellowstone Expedition, 1819-1820,” by Cardinal Goodwin; and “The Beginnings of British West Florida,” by C. E. Carter. Dan E. Clark contributes the annual review of historical activities in the trans-Mississippi Northwest, and to complete the number are departments devoted to “Notes and Documents,” “Book Reviews,” and “Notes and Comments.”

Announcement has recently been made of the resignation of Clarence W. Alvord as managing editor of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, in which capacity he has acted since the founding of the magazine in 1914. The Review, largely because of the efforts of Mr. Alvord, now ranks among the best of American historical publications. Its readers will greatly regret Mr. Alvord’s resignation.

The leading article in the October, 1917, issue of the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, describes the Iowa war loan of 1861. By reason in part of a doubtful provision in the state constitution, in part of the concerted efforts of the southern sympathizers living in Iowa, the state administration encountered greater difficulty in floating a war loan than was the case in any other northern state. Through the columns of the distant New York Herald the enemies of the loan conducted their campaign to defeat it. The manner in which Governor Kirkwood and his assistants overbore the opposition and saved the reputation of the state is vividly described.

The life of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa’s war governor, by D. E. Clark, has been issued as one of the Biographical Series of the Iowa Historical Society. The study of Governor Kirkwood’s life takes Pg 344 the reader into the history of three commonwealths, but it is with the development of Iowa that his name is inseparably associated. As Civil War governor, United States senator, and secretary of the interior under Garfield, his name is perhaps more widely known than that of any other person in Iowa history. In preparing the biography, Mr. Clark had access to seven Civil War Letter Books and three letter books for the period when Kirkwood was secretary of the interior. Use was also made of a large collection of letters, covering the period from 1850-1890. From these sources the author has given us a sketch of Iowa’s noted war governor which is both timely and valuable.

In a two-volume work on Burrows of Michigan and the Republican Party published by Longman, Green and Company, 1917, William Dana Orcott has presented a detailed career of one of Michigan’s most famous men. As lawyer, college professor, military hero, and United States senator, Burrows gained an acquaintance that was nation wide. In ability he ranked with Blaine, Garfield, Reed, and McKinley; and had he not been so blindly devoted to the partisan principles which he represented, in all probability he would have occupied a higher office.

The Michigan Historical Magazine for October, 1917, contains an interesting group of Civil War letters written by Hon. Washington Gardiner while serving as a volunteer in 1863-64. The letters were all written from the front, and depict the conditions observed by this youthful soldier of sixteen years.

Those who enjoy reading a frontier narrative will welcome a little volume recently published, entitled A Soldier Doctor of our Army: James P. Kimball. The book was written by Maria B. Kimball, wife of Dr. Kimball, and is published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. Dr. Kimball served in the Civil War and later for a number of years at Fort Buford and other places on the western frontier. He was an intimate friend of General Custer, by whom he was chosen to act as the chief medical officer on the campaign which ended in Custer’s death in 1876. But for his inability to meet the appointment, his career would doubtless have terminated at the same time as Custer’s in the disaster which overwhelmed his army.

The Myth Wawataw is the subject of a brief dissertation, beautifully printed, by H. Bedford Jones of Santa Barbara, on the unreliability of Alexander Henry’s account of the events in the Northwest connected with Pontiac’s war. A brief discussion is also included in the booklet on the historical remains at old Michilimackinac.

The October, 1917, number of the Ohio Archeological Historical Quarterly has an article on Muskingum River pilots by Irven Travis Pg 345 which many of our members would take pleasure in reading. The palmy days of small river transportation have long since become a part of history, and any information bearing upon the part they played in our social and economic development is treasured by all students of pioneer days.

Two articles comprise the contents of the Indiana Magazine of History for September, 1917. The first, “Lincoln in Indiana,” is the first installment of an interesting and suggestive account of the obscure period in the great Emancipator’s life of which it treats. The second article is the concluding section of a history of the origin and rise of the Republican Party in Indiana from 1854 to 1860.

A history of Western Influences on Political Parties to 1825, by Homer C. Hockett, formerly of the University of Wisconsin, is the title of Ohio State University Bulletin, vol. 22, number 3, issued in 1917. Dr. Hockett sketches the growth of political parties in this country from about the middle of the eighteenth century down to the close of the first quarter of the nineteenth. Chief emphasis is placed upon the new political issues that arose out of western conditions during this period, and the manner in which they affected national policies.

Among the important historical periodicals of the country is the Catholic Historical Review of Washington, now in its third year of publication. Its sponsors are valiantly sounding a clarion call to their fellow religionists to awake to the importance of their priceless historical heritage, and to put the preservation and study of its records on a thoroughly scholarly basis. That these matters have been all too little attended to heretofore can hardly be gainsaid. If the campaign waged by the Catholic Historical Review shall meet with a reasonable measure of success, however, we may expect to witness in the not distant future a radical change in the attitude and actions of the adherents of Catholicism in America with respect to the cultivation of their historical domain. For the most part the writing of sectarian religious histories in the United States has been (and now is) conducted on a regretably low plane of scholarship. Historians of all the denominations (and, indeed, of whatever other social groups) would do well to take to heart the principles of scholarly procedure which the Review advocates.

The broadly objective viewpoint of this church organ may be concretely illustrated by citing two or three items from a single issue (that for October, 1917). It is argued that the records of the several dioceses be administered on a scientific basis, and be “easily accessible to all qualified students whether Catholic or non-Catholic.” A generous tribute is paid to the work of the several state historical societies in conserving the Catholic history of the land, notwithstanding the Pg 346 membership rolls of these societies contain “very few Catholic names, and very little Catholic generosity finds its way into their treasury.” In passing it may be observed that our own Society may appropriate to itself a fair portion of this tribute, for much has been done, from its earliest days, to conserve the history of the oldest of Christian denominations in Wisconsin. Again, a recently published meretricious life of George Washington, written by a certain priest, meets with castigation as thorough at the hands of the reviewer as any historical periodical free from church connections could have administered. The example of the Review may well be emulated by the historians of all religious denominations.

The preliminary report of the California Historical Survey Commission, issued in February, 1917, sets forth one of the most ambitious undertakings in the field of local history that has ever been launched in this country. An act passed by the legislature of that state in June, 1915, provided for the appointment of a commission of three members to make a survey of all local historical material in California. An appropriation of ten thousand dollars was made to cover the expense of the work. The work mapped out by the commission in its preliminary report includes a careful survey of the several county archives in the state, of the state archives, and of those of the local federal offices. Reports are also being gathered from all the public libraries, from the collections of historical societies and other similar institutions. Manuscripts in the possession of private individuals are being listed and the files of early newspapers, records of the religious and social organizations and large business concerns of the state are all being examined. Already archival records antedating the organization of the state government have been found, the existence of which had been hitherto unsuspected, while records pertaining to land claims under the Spanish and Mexican governments have been brought to light.


The picture of Colonel Ellsworth is reproduced from an original photograph in the Wisconsin Historical Library; that of Miss Spafford from a photograph supplied by Mrs. Charles H. Godfrey, Rockford, Illinois

Pg 347

VOL. I, NO. 4 JUNE, 1918


Illustration: Printer's Logo


Edited by



Pg 348


Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth: First Hero of the Civil War Charles A. Ingraham 349
Where Is the German Fatherland? 375
The Paul Revere Print of the Boston Massacre Louise P. Kellogg 377
Some Letters of Paul O. Husting Concerning the Present Crisis 388
Historical Fragments:
The Beginnings of Milwaukee; The Senatorial Election of 1869; “Koshkonong” and “Man Eater”; The Alien Suffrage Provision in the Constitution of Wisconsin 417
Increase A. Lapham and the German Air Raids; Save the Relics; The Newspapers; Removing the Papacy to Chicago 426
“Camouflage” and “Eatless Days” Two Hundred Years Ago; Daniel Webster’s Wisconsin Investments 432
Survey of Historical Activities:
The Society and the State; Some Recent Publications; The Wider Field 435

The Society as a body is not responsible for statements or opinions advanced in the following pages by contributors.


Pg 349


Charles A. Ingraham

On Monday, the twenty-ninth of April, 1861, fourteen days after President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops, a regiment composed of 1,100 men, uniformed and equipped, marched the streets of New York en route to the national capital. Riding at the head of the column was the Colonel, a young man of twenty-four, small of stature, with flashing dark eyes and with a look of authority and power upon his handsome features. The crowds along the line of march cheered enthusiastically as the regiment passed—a magnificent body of men who at his call had rushed in the space of four days to the colors. It was Ellsworth’s regiment of Zouaves, recruited from the firemen of New York City, and afterwards mustered into the service as the Eleventh New York Volunteer Infantry.

But whence came this wonderful youth who, as if by magic, had called into being this stalwart array—bold and fearless men, resenting restraint, but submitting cheerfully now to his iron discipline? Not many years before, he had been but an obscure country boy of northern New York, remote from the places of advancement and culture, a son of worthy parents, unable, however, to contribute of their limited means to the furtherance of the ambitious desires of Pg 350 their offspring. In the brief space of a year he had achieved national prominence; having had up to the summer of 1860 but a local reputation, confined to Chicago and its vicinity, he became the popular idol of the entire northern country. At the head of his United States Zouave Cadets he had toured the leading eastern cities and won distinction for the extraordinary perfection of drill exhibited by his command. Shining through all this historic expedition appears preëminent the attractive personality of the young captain—knightly, magnetic, winning, lofty of character, able to control every one of his cadets under the imperious rule of his native authority and undeviating rectitude.

On the morning of the twenty-fourth of May, less than a month from the departure of the Fire Zouaves from New York, Ellsworth was killed at Alexandria. Not in vain was his fall, for it caused the hesitating northern people to reach firmly at last for the rifle. “Ellsworth’s Avengers,” the Forty-fourth New York Volunteer Infantry, recruited from every county of the Empire State, with unusual physical requirements and moral standards, marched from their encampment at Albany for the front on October 21, 1861. Well did they fulfill the name they bore, for on many a battle field this somewhat Puritanical regiment, remarkable for the scholarship and worth of its rank and file, never forgot the assassination of Ellsworth as they carried their rent colors against the foe. Still another regiment of New York City firemen, the Second Fire Zouaves, or the Seventy-third New York Volunteer Infantry, was recruited under the inspiration of Ellsworth’s name and was mustered into the service on July 10, 1861. Reënlisting in 1864, it had a continuous service to the close of the war and enjoys a magnificent history.

Thus Ellsworth had, to his immediate, demonstrable credit, the mustering in of three regiments, which constituted, however, but a small proportion of the multitude whose patriotic devotion was evoked by his death and who followed Pg 351 the flag into the service. Yet many believe him to have been but a rash and adventurous person, vain and superficial. My study of his life, however, convinces me of the error of such opinion and that he was a young man of extraordinary gifts, prudent thought, gentle, loving instincts, and one who had been baptized with a fervent spirit of patriotism. Abraham Lincoln recognized his wonderful abilities and admirable traits of character and loved him for them, had his stricken, cold body brought to the White House, and wept over his remains as he would have grieved over those of his own son. And John Hay, in two notable magazine articles, one written soon after Ellsworth’s fall, the other towards the close of Mr. Hay’s career, has nothing but eulogy for the noble youth whom he had intimately known and loved as a brother. Surely, young Ellsworth had in him the elements of greatness! Schooled in poverty, disciplined by hardship and disappointment, his life is yet a shining path of pure living, high purpose, devoted patriotism, and worthy fame.

The motorist who seeks the birthplace of Ellsworth leaves the city of Troy, crosses to the west side of the Hudson at the northern limits of the town, and follows the macadam road along the river northward fourteen miles to the city of Mechanicsville. Here he will leave the river and proceeding in a northwesterly direction over a fine state road will reach at a distance of nine miles the little village of Malta, Saratoga County, seven miles this side of the city of Saratoga Springs. At Malta, Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth was born on April 11, 1837. The hamlet is much like thousands of others scattered over our eastern states; it claims its four corners, church, schoolhouse, and general store, but, with its spacious square, shade trees, and pleasant dwellings, it is more attractive than the average small village. The house in which Ellsworth first saw the light is yet standing, a well preserved, small, story-and-a-half structure, looking cheerfully out on the great road where thousands pass, ignorant of the honor which Pg 352 it possesses. It has been called “the low-browed cottage,” a characterization which is appropriate, for two small, oblong windows are suggestive of eyes peering out from under the eaves. Ephraim D. Ellsworth, Elmer’s father, a worthy citizen and a tailor by trade, in 1836 married Phoebe Denton who resided here, and employed himself at this place in the business of his calling. He was of English extraction, born in the town of Halfmoon, Saratoga County, New York, and a man of bright intellect. His grandfather, George Ellsworth, as a boy of fifteen joined the American army operating against Burgoyne, fought in the battle of Saratoga, and was present at the subsequent surrender of the British army. George Ellsworth was thus a yet-living influence to develop the patriotic and martial spirit of his great-grandson, and, added to the special interest he took in the exciting story of the boy-soldier’s adventures, was the realizing assistance afforded by the proximity of the battle field, nine miles away. Phoebe Denton could no more trace a distinguished ancestry than could her husband, and all that is available concerning her is that on her father’s side she had an English lineage, and on her mother’s, a “Scotch Presbyterian.”



The boyhood life of Elmer in Malta was isolated enough but was relieved somewhat by the nearness of Saratoga Springs, which in those times was a leading watering-place of the country, where the wealth and fashion of the land disported itself. Many costly equipages every season would pass through the village, bound to and from Saratoga, not a few of them belonging to the southern aristocracy and having ebony coachmen on the box. Only two miles east is the beautiful Saratoga Lake, with the charms of which he was familiar. He was a good student in the district school, but not at all precocious or remarkable as a scholar. He was cheerful, fond of and a leader in all games and sports, but his greatest enjoyment was in reading; he would become lost for hours Pg 353 in a book, heedless of the lapse of time. His mother was a pious woman and from her and the services of the Presbyterian church he derived deep religious convictions which he maintained throughout his life. He became, also, at an early age, a pronounced temperance disciple and, having heard a lecturer say that the devil dwelt in a cider barrel, wanted to take a “gun and cussion cap” and shoot him. His mother has left on record many interesting instances of his philosophical character and original sayings, but there is not room here to give them place. I may, however, be permitted to mention his purchase of his brother Charlie, the one other child in the family. Charlie was three years younger than Elmer, and the older brother conceiving a great fondness for him while he was yet a babe, and desiring him for his own, bought him of his parents for six shillings. From that time forward Elmer assumed a sort of guardianship over him and maintained that sense of obligation up to the day of Charlie’s death. At an early age he began to evidence a proclivity for military studies and employments by exhibiting a preference for books dealing with war and battles; when but nine years of age he drew with wagon-paints on one side of a window shade a picture of General Washington and staff, and on the reverse side one of General Jackson and staff. A natural aptitude for sketching was further developed as he grew older and was of practical help to him in his military occupations. Many of his sketches are still preserved and cherished. After he had spent a year as a clerk in the employ of a Mr. DeGroff, who kept a general store at Malta, the family moved to Mechanicsville.

The ambition which Elmer had cherished of entering West Point Military Academy might have been realized had there been at Mechanicsville educational advantages whereby he could have gained the proper preparation, but the village, then a place of about 800 inhabitants, had nothing higher than district schools, and his father had not the means to send Pg 354 him to an academy. He attended the school located on North Main Street, a brick building still standing and converted into an attractive residence. Mr. Ellsworth’s trade seems not to have afforded him a sufficient income, for he adopted various makeshifts in order to provide for his family, such as peddling oysters, netting pigeons, and other like employments. Elmer was sometimes sneered at by his companions on account of his father’s poverty and one day he whipped a boy soundly who had called him, “oyster-keg.”

All this made a deep wound in the proud and sensitive heart of the boy, and throughout his career, in his letters and diary, may still be read the ever-recurring refrain of his desire to remove his parents from lives of grinding toil and carking care. This absorbing thought had been observed by President Lincoln and was mentioned in his letter to Colonel Ellsworth’s bereaved parents as “conclusive of his good heart.” But Elmer had the great privilege while living in Mechanicsville of organizing and having under him a military company: the Black Plumed Riflemen, of Stillwater, an historic village three miles above Mechanicsville. At this time, although but fifteen, short and slight of build, he would go through the manual of arms with the heavy muskets of those days with wonderful ease and rapidity. Throughout his life he was ever of a strong, virile constitution; quick, active, alert, he became in after years an accurate shot and a fine swordsman. Illustrative of his strength and agility and as exhibiting his qualification to lead others in performing startling feats, it is still told in Mechanicsville that one day a clerk in Hatfield’s store (now the Mead Building) having heard a commotion in the second story, upon investigation, found that Ellsworth and the Black Plumed Riflemen had ascended there on a “human ladder”; the last ones were pulled up through the doorway from the sidewalk. Though Mechanicsville has grown to be a place of more than 8,000 population, the older parts of the town remain very much as when Ellsworth paraded the streets Pg 355 with his riflemen. The old home, a pleasant dwelling on Ellsworth Street in the southern part of the place, still stands amid surroundings practically unchanged. The premises front on the embankment of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad; in the rear flows the now abandoned section of the Champlain Canal. Just south of the home and on the rise of ground is the residence of Robert Sears, deceased, who was an intimate friend of the family and who accompanied the stricken parents to New York to meet the remains of their son. Elmer was a welcome visitor here, where he and his companion, Charles Sears, had many a happy romp in the fields about the homestead. It is needless to say that the remembrance of Colonel Ellsworth is still a sacred one in the Sears family and that his memorials are cherished in the white mansion on the hill where he was gladly entertained and duly appreciated; for even at this early age it was evident that he was a lad of superior parts. Certain of the citizens have suggested changing the name of the place to “Ellsworth” and erecting a fitting monument in the midst of the city, a commendable proposal, though there are already nine villages named Ellsworth in as many states of the country, and notwithstanding that a noble granite memorial to his memory, unveiled with elaborate and impressive ceremonies on May 27, 1874, stands in the Mechanicsville cemetery.

Elmer’s stay in Mechanicsville did not embrace above a year or more, and after having had considerable success in selling papers on the railway trains, he secured the consent of his father to leave home and try to make his own way in the world. He, therefore, in 1852, secured employment as a clerk in the store of Corliss & House, Troy, dealers in linen goods, where he remained about a year. The career of Ellsworth from now on to 1858 is difficult to follow in detail on account of the as yet scarcity of data from which to construct a satisfactory narrative. It is known, however, that from the time he left Mechanicsville to the hour of his death, Pg 356 his life, though in its last two years astonishingly prominent and in point of honorable fame highly successful, was throughout an experience of almost unremitting hardship and poverty; a beating about from one employment to another; a weary history of uncongenial labor and foiled ambition. It is probable that he was, to use his own words, endeavoring to “make a bold push for fortune,” that he might quickly relieve his parents of that toil and privation, the remembrance of which seems to have burned into his soul to remain smarting there through the long years. Perhaps it would be charity to allow the mantle of forgetfulness to remain upon this period of unrequited effort, though from the glimpses we have in it of Ellsworth he is smiling and cheerful through it all, ever maintaining the most scrupulous honor and unblemished character. But the American people will desire the uncovering of every detail of the life of this remarkable young genius and martyr, whose very gifts of mind and heart, like those of many another, made him the prey of fortune.

On August 2, 1917, there appeared in the Telegraph-Courier of Kenosha, Wisconsin, a letter from Charles H. Goffe, a former resident of the city, and among his reminiscences of Kenosha is the following concerning Ellsworth in the summer of 1853, Elmer being then sixteen years old. I have nothing with which to corroborate Mr. Goffe’s statement, but as it has the impress of truth and corresponds, though in an exaggerated manner, with what I have learned of Ellsworth’s traits of character, I am disposed to give it acceptance. It is my opinion that, having saved a sum of money from his salary as a clerk in Troy, he resolved to “plod along” no further but to “make a bold push for fortune” in the West, and endeavor to find by prospecting a more promising field. Mr. Goffe writes:

“There was also boarding at Mrs. Bell’s at this time, a young man of handsome features and fastidious ways, accentuated by a repelling hauteur and exclusiveness, so often Pg 357 found peculiar to genius. His associates were few and his disposition was not calculated to make intimates of those he came in contact with. No one seemed able to penetrate the mystery of his personality and yet there was something about the youth which arrested the attention of all. But he was obsessed with a penchant or habit born perhaps of idle vanity of writing (or scribbling) his name in a bold, flowing, and not ungraceful hand, upon every scrap of paper, on the weatherboards of the house, and on gate and fence posts, a name which a few years later was on every tongue, flashed in the headlines of the daily press, and stamped in deathless lines upon the history of his country—the name of Elmer E. Ellsworth…. In the fall of 1853, when the Kenosha High School opened for the winter term under Professor DeWolff, Mr. Ellsworth attended for a while, but was not satisfied with school life, and suddenly dropped out of view and was for a time forgotten.”

Mr. Goffe says that when, two years later, he went to Muskegon, across the lake in Michigan, he learned that Ellsworth had associated with and been adopted by the Ottawa Indians who dwelt in those parts. After describing how he had been created a chief among them, made the recipient of high honors, and adorned with unique and gaudy apparel. Mr. Goffe continues:

“But, alas, when the novelty of barbaric glory and display had become stale, and the craving for other conquests and other scenes, and perhaps dreams of awaiting glories had disturbed his vision, this eccentric child of genius suddenly disappeared from his tribe and had gone no one could tell where. His people waited long, but he returned no more, and the red-skinned maidens of the tamarack swamps waited and sighed in vain for the handsome young chief on whom they had doted, and for whom they had hoped and dreamed. And the seasons came and passed, and the moons had filled Pg 358 their horns many times only to wane and the white chief came no more.”

As stated before, it is probable that Ellsworth visited Kenosha and it is likely, too, that on his way home he stopped at Muskegon and was with the Indians for a brief period, but that he remained there a year or more, as Mr. Goffe was told, or that he made any extended stay among the Redskins is highly improbable, though I realize that in expressing this opinion I am throwing ashes on what purports to be a romantic episode.

Returning to Mechanicsville and casting about for employment, Ellsworth recalled that in one of his trips between Troy and his home he had met on the train a gentleman from New York who, evidently attracted by his intelligent and prepossessing appearance, drew him into conversation and impressed himself favorably on the youth’s mind and memory. Thinking that this transient friend might help him, he inserted a “personal” in the New York Herald which in due time brought a letter from the gentleman, who proved to be a drygoods merchant, and after a preparatory correspondence Ellsworth was made a clerk in his store. This was in 1853, the year of his visit to the West and Kenosha.


Reproduced from the original in the Wisconsin Historical Library

Concerning the two years that he spent in New York I have been able to secure but fragmentary and disconnected data. He remained but half of this period in the employ of the merchant referred to and when, in 1855, he went to Chicago, he did so in company with a party of engineers by whom he had been employed in improving the channel at Hellgate, not far from New York. This work was carried on by the aid of divers who deposited the explosive on the surface of the rock and this being fired by electricity and confined somewhat by the weight of water effected considerable execution. Just what part Ellsworth played in this work or how long he was engaged in it is not known. While in New York he was afforded an opportunity of Pg 359 acquiring a better knowledge of military tactics through the drills of the Seventh Regiment, which he attended on every available occasion.

He was eighteen years of age when, with his brother, he went to Chicago, hoping to make better progress in providing means for the ease, security, and happiness of their parents. For, while yet a little boy in Malta, having been pained by the cruel words of a companion who had sneeringly remarked that his mother wore “patched shoes,” he had told her that he would some day earn a lot of money so that she would be a lady as well as the best and “ride in a carriage.” This ambition for his mother, that she might “ride in a carriage,” was referred to hopefully in a letter dated Madison, Wisconsin, November 15, 1858. Though his brother, after remaining but a brief season in Chicago, seems to have given up the battle and returned home, Elmer held on and through the most discouraging experiences persevered and at last achieved a success which repaid him for all his suffering and humiliation.

Not long after his arrival in Chicago he engaged himself as a clerk to Arthur F. Devereux, of Salem, Massachusetts, who was in the patent soliciting business and who later became an officer in the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment. Ellsworth after a time became a partner with Mr. Devereux and the firm enjoyed prosperity when, through the defalcation of one whom they trusted, everything was lost and Elmer found himself without a dollar struggling again for the bare necessities of life. Three years had been passed in this business, as appears from Ellsworth’s own words. He writes: “In an evil hour I placed confidence in an infernal scoundrel, was robbed of everything in a moment, saw the reward of three years’ toil fade from my eyes when about to grasp it.”

The occurrence of this catastrophe brings Ellsworth’s career down to 1858, he then being of the age of twenty-one. Connected with the business of a patent solicitor are certain Pg 360 legal aspects that require attention, and having in this way in a manner been introduced to the law, he determined to prepare himself for the full practice of that profession. He therefore entered the law office of Mr. J. E. Cone as a student. The remuneration he received for copying legal papers was wholly inadequate; for a time he slept on the floor of the office, and suffered, not infrequently, the pangs of hunger. During these months of hard study, drudgery of copying, and abject poverty, he retained his interest in military affairs, though he had no active part in them for the reason that he could not afford the expense of belonging to a company. However, he joined a gymnasium and made the acquaintance of Dr. Charles A. DeVilliers, who was an instructor in fencing, evidently in that institution. Dr. DeVilliers was destined to play an important part in the military education and career of Ellsworth, for he revived in him his ardent martial spirit and encouraged him in his desire to acquire an intimate knowledge of the French Zouave system of tactics and uniform with a view to introducing them into this country. DeVilliers was competent for this purpose, having served with a French Zouave regiment in the Crimean War and was familiar with all the details of their drill and equipment. The name and system were derived by the French in 1830 from the members of a mountain tribe of Algeria, (Arab., Zwawá) who, arrayed in oriental costume, wide trousers, fez, and loose jacket, were in their rapidity of movement and ferocity of courage famed as fighters. Ellsworth, of a romantic nature and a lover of the novel and dramatic, was attracted by this now famous and spectacular system, and sent to France for books fully explaining it and set himself to acquire the language that he might read them. In the meantime, with Scott’s and Hardee’s books of tactics open before him, he perfected himself in the manual of arms, not hesitating to introduce improvements of his own where they seemed desirable, his endeavor being to bring ease, grace, and celerity into Pg 361 every movement. Under DeVillier’s instruction he became the best fencer in Chicago, while his “lightning drill” attracted attention as he exhibited it in the gymnasium.

His reputation having reached as far as Rockford, Illinois, he was engaged in the summer of 1858 to drill the Rockford City Grays, a company that had been organized two years earlier. The corps made good progress and in September went into camp on the fairgrounds, remaining four days, during which time military companies from Elgin, Freeport, and Chicago visited the encampment. During his stay at Rockford Ellsworth made the acquaintance of Miss Carrie Spafford, to whom he became engaged, and for whom to the day of his death he cherished the highest regard and the deepest affection. Her father, Mr. Charles H. Spafford, was one of the pioneers and a leading citizen of the place and with his family was attached to Ellsworth and befriended him more, perhaps, than any others outside of his immediate relatives. In his last letter to Miss Spafford he refers to her parents as “father and mother.” Mrs. Charles H. Godfrey, a sister of Miss Spafford, still resides at Rockford and occupies the dwelling where Colonel Ellsworth visited the family in 1858, and though she has no remembrance of him she cherishes the honor that her Christian name, Eugenia, was by him proposed for her to the family when he fondled her on his knee. Miss Carrie Spafford married Charles S. Brett, both of whom with their only son are deceased, Mrs. Brett having died in 1911 at the old home where the Colonel visited her. Not only did Ellsworth win the friendship and regard of the Spafford family, but his cordial manners and magnetic personality made him a marked individuality and a popular hero throughout the town.

In the following month of October Ellsworth went to Madison, Wisconsin, and was employed there in drilling the Governor’s Guard, a military company organized in February of that year and made up of the leading young Pg 362 men of the place. It is on record that on October 15, 1858, he was elected commandant of the Guard and began drilling the company, which at the beginning numbered twenty-five men, three evenings in each week. There is nothing to indicate how long he remained at Madison, though a letter to his mother, already referred to, bears date, “Capitol House, Madison, Wis., Nov. 15th, 1858,” and it is probable that he was with the Governor’s Guard in its parade of December 26 following, concerning which a Madison newspaper says, “They appear much improved in a military point.” The State Historical Society of Wisconsin has in its archives several interesting memorials of Ellsworth’s sojourn in Madison. There is some evidence that he drilled a company in Springfield, Illinois, at about this period, but the statements are so indefinite and inconclusive that I have refrained from giving them as facts. In a study of this kind it is necessary carefully to compare, weigh, and sift all the materials of information.

A definite landmark in the life of Ellsworth is his diary, commenced on his twenty-second birthday, April 11, 1859, and continued for a brief period.[129] This was in the spring following his agreeable and successful military employment at Rockford and Madison, but from which he seems to have derived no considerable emolument, for the entries in his diary relate experiences of his struggle with poverty. Concerning the purpose of the journal, he says: “I do this because it seems pleasant to be able to look back upon our past lives and note the gradual change in our sentiments and views of life; and because my life has been and bids fair to be such Pg 363 a jumble of strange incidents that, should I become anybody or anything, this will be useful as a means of showing how much suffering and temptation a man may undergo and still keep clear of despair and vice.” These pages afford an intimate view of his character and one which can be obtained from no other source; for they are even more personal and confidential than his letters to the members of his own family. They tell in easy, fluent style of his poverty, temptations, dawning success, meditations, and laborious study of the law in the office of Mr. Cone, to which he had returned after his engagement had expired in Madison.

Among the earlier entries in the diary is the account of his election on April 29, 1859, as commandant of the United States Zouave Cadets, of Chicago, a company superseding the National Guard Cadets, instituted three years previous, which company had become practically defunct. On abandoning the old name and armory the Zouaves made their quarters in the Garrett Block on ground now occupied by Central Music Hall. The drill and discipline of the corps grew to be more exacting and severe probably, than that to which any military company was ever subjected, for Ellsworth’s aim was to improve the men “morally as well as physically” and “to place the company in a position second to none in the United States.” The rules adopted and rigidly enforced proscribed drinking or even entering, without a valid excuse, a barroom, forbade visiting houses of vulgar resort, and gambling rooms, and prohibited the playing of billiards in public places. Ellsworth, himself, all his life was very abstemious; in a letter to his brother in 1858, he writes: “I don’t use tobacco in any shape whatever; I drink neither tea or coffee.” Running all through his career is the unmistakable evidence, especially visible in his private papers, that he was above all a moral champion: that his ethical principles overshadowed and governed his military ambitions. The proficiency of a cadet was no recommendation to his leniency: Pg 364 if he transgressed the rules, he must go: twelve of his best drilled men were expelled at one time for drinking; but such was his influence over his command that as they dwindled away there was never a stampede, even under the laborious drills and the prohibitory discipline.

On the Fourth of July Ellsworth, having had the cadets in training but little more than two months, gave a public drill in front of the Tremont House and at once won the admiration of hostile critics, who pronounced the exhibition unrivaled outside West Point. This success was all the more remarkable when it is considered that Ellsworth had acquired his military knowledge entirely from self-instruction, never having been a member of a company when he began the occupation of drillmaster. Moreover, he was still very poor, subsisting part of the time on nothing better than crackers; but he could write proudly in his diary on the night of the Fourth: “Victory, and thank God!”

At Chicago on September 15 of the same year, at the seventh annual fair of the National Agricultural Society, Ellsworth with his Zouaves won a stand of colors valued at $500, which had been offered as a prize in a competitive drill. Owing to the fact that only one other company drilled for the award, though the contest had been open to any militia company in the country, great dissatisfaction prevailed throughout the East and South that the Zouaves should under the circumstances be accorded such a distinction. The old military companies of the eastern cities scorned the pretentions of the “prairie boys,” and ridiculed the idea of their being able to compete successfully with themselves. For Ellsworth had added fuel to the fire by challenging any company in the United States or Canada to drill for the champion colors, offering to pay their expenses to and from Chicago and stating that, starting on the following twentieth of June, the Zouaves would visit the leading cities of the Pg 365 country for the purpose of meeting those companies which had not found it convenient to come to Chicago.


From original photographs in the collection of Frederick H. Meserve, New York

The discipline and drill, beginning early in February, became more exacting than ever, as it was felt by the company that in order to retain the colors the orders of the commandant must be scrupulously observed. Ellsworth told them that “everything except business and the company must be sacrificed” and that till the date set for the departure, drills must be held every evening, except Sunday, from seven to eleven o’clock. Associated with the drill, which was practiced with knapsacks weighing twenty-three pounds, were strenuous athletic exercises, while through the month of June the men slept on the floor of the armory wrapped in their blankets. The start was postponed from June 20 to July 2, owing to the death from smallpox of Ellsworth’s brother, who was a member of the company. This bereavement was a hard stroke for the commandant, who was already burdened with the care and discipline of the company and anxiety for the results. It was estimated that five weeks would be consumed in the tour and that the expenditures would approximate $7,000, but the funds were far from being raised when the day of departure arrived. Moreover, the company’s goods and chattels were attached by certain ex-members who had loaned it money and who were now smarting from the effects of Ellsworth’s severe discipline; but this difficulty was quickly relieved by the generosity of Chicago citizens.

The last reunion of Ellsworth’s Chicago Zouaves was held at the Wellington Hotel, Chicago, in November, 1910, at which eight members were present; five absentees were known to be living at that time. I have recently corresponded with Mr. J. M. DeWitt of New York, who is actively engaged in practical affairs, with Mr. Frank E. Yates of Chicago, and, through his family, with Mr. J. A. Clybourn, of the same city, who is in very poor health. This band of men, sifted out by Ellsworth and tried by the fire of his rigorous Pg 366 discipline and training, not only achieved the reputation of being perhaps the most perfectly drilled military company in history, but held important places in the army during the Civil War and multiplied the instructions and principles which they had derived from their commandant.

The Chicago Historical Society has in its Ellsworth collection a crayon sketch drawn by him and evidently designed to serve as copy for the printer in preparing memorials of the tour, to be presented to the members of the company. Upon it are inscribed in consecutive order the names of the cities visited and the military organizations by whom the Zouaves were escorted and entertained, though the dates do not appear in all cases. The itinerary follows:

Chicago, July 2, 1860; Adrian, Mich., July 3 and 4; Detroit, July 5; Cleveland, July 6 and 7; Niagara Falls, Sunday; Rochester, July —; Syracuse, July —; Utica, July —; Troy, July 12; Albany, July 13; New York, July 14, 15, 16, --, 18, 19, 20; Boston, July 21, 22, 23, 25; Charlestown, Mass., July 24; Salem, July —; West Point, July 26, 27; Philadelphia, July 28; Baltimore, Aug. —; Washington, D. C., Mount Vernon, Aug. —; Pittsburgh, Aug. —; Cincinnati, Aug. —; St. Louis, Aug. —; Springfield, Aug. —; Chicago, Aug. 15.

The Zouaves were accompanied throughout their tour by a band of eighteen pieces, the Light Guard Band of Chicago; but though the company went forth with fine melody and unique and brilliant uniforms, they were hardy soldiers with bronzed faces and wiry, agile frames, who lived abstemiously and slept each night on the floor of their quarters. Temptations to indulge in wines and liquors were before them daily, but they resolutely turned away to take up the arduous work of their program. They were very young and somewhat undersized; by no means a stalwart array, as might be expected; but the wonderful precision, celerity, and grace of their drill and evolutions astonished and thrilled every town Pg 367 they visited, and the accounts of their marvelous proficiency, telegraphed ahead, aroused widespread curiosity and brought great crowds to observe them wherever they went. Though the tour was made for the purpose of inviting competition, not a company ventured to face them, all cheerfully according them the palm of superiority.

The period in which the tour was made could not have been more opportune; a critical presidential election was on, with Abraham Lincoln heading the Republican party which stood for the nonextension of slavery, and with the avowal rife in the South that, should he be elected, war would ensue. Thus, the people were disposed to look with interest and enthusiasm upon military demonstrations. Ellsworth’s experience was not, however, entirely without anxiety, owing to the lack of funds, which, until New York City was reached, was a source of worry; but at this point and in Boston large amounts were derived from exhibition drills given before immense audiences, and henceforward no difficulty was experienced on this score. The company reached Chicago on Tuesday, August 15, was accorded an ovation irrespective of party affiliations, and escorted to the accompaniment of pyrotechnics and a torch-light procession, to the “Wigwam” where Lincoln had been nominated, which was filled with more than 10,000 people. Mayor Wentworth gave a congratulatory address which was briefly responded to by Captain Ellsworth, after which, it now being midnight, the company was banqueted at the Briggs House.

Not long after this triumphant return Ellsworth resigned his commission and the company disbanded. Its career having been brilliant, though brief, it was better, it seemed to him, that the organization should dissolve rather than deteriorate under less rigorous discipline. Ellsworth, without delay, seeming to realize that armed strife was at hand, organized a regiment of Zouaves in northern Illinois, officered it with men from his old company, and presented the force Pg 368 to Governor Yates to direct as he might deem expedient. Having become acquainted with Mr. Lincoln, he now entered his law office, not so much to pursue his somewhat neglected law studies as to promote a scheme which he was evolving of reorganizing the militia of Illinois and eventually of the whole country: to unify and bring the entire system more completely under the control of a central authority. Here begins to be manifest a wide grasp and a broad vision for which Ellsworth has never been given credit. To enjoy a reputation as a successful drillmaster and to control efficiently a company of fifty men was but the rudiment of his ambition and capacity; his mind went out firmly and sanely to broad fields, and he impressed his ideas upon Mr. Lincoln, who sought to give him an opportunity at the national capital to work out and put in operation these desirable measures. A start was attempted in a bill dictated by Ellsworth and introduced in the Illinois legislature while he was in Springfield, but though it was successful in the House, it failed in the Senate through causes other than a lack of merit.

During the autumn, Ellsworth employed himself on the stump, speaking for the Republican candidates, and exhibited decided gifts as an orator; a fine voice and presence, abundant humor and fluent expression gained him a ready hearing. In the meantime he had resumed his legal studies and later, passing a satisfactory examination, was admitted to the bar a few weeks before Mr. Lincoln started on his journey to Washington. The president-elect had invited Ellsworth to accompany him on the trip in the capacity of an officer to safeguard him by superintending the disposition of the crowds that everywhere met him. Arriving at the capital he was incapacitated with the measles, but when, on his twenty-fourth birthday, April 11, 1861, Fort Sumter was summoned to surrender, he soon shook off the lethargy of his convalescence, resigned his lieutenant’s commission, borrowed what money John Hay had at his disposal, and Pg 369 started for New York, resolved to raise a regiment for the service. In this he was promptly successful among the firemen of the city and in a remarkably brief space, at the head of the Eleventh New York Volunteer Infantry, was on May 7 mustered into the service in front of the Capitol at Washington and in the presence of President Lincoln. For a few days the regiment was quartered in the Capitol building, but as the command was acquiring a tendency to disregard the proprieties of the service, Colonel Ellsworth secured for it a camp on the south side of the east branch of the Potomac, on the high ground in the vicinity of the Insane Asylum, believing that here he would have the men under better control. An interesting, and to the Fire Zouaves a complimentary, event occurred while the regiment was in Washington. Willard’s Hotel having taken fire, Ellsworth and his men after vigorous efforts quenched the flames and saved the building, much to the gratification of Mr. Willard, who entertained them at breakfast and gave Colonel Ellsworth a purse of $500 to employ for the benefit of the regiment. This money the Colonel turned over to the committee that organized and equipped the Fire Zouaves, and it was eventually divided equally and applied toward the erection of monuments for Ellsworth and his successor, Colonel Farnham, who died of wounds sustained at the first battle of Bull Run.

On the evening of Thursday, May 23, the regiment was ordered to be ready to move at a moment’s notice, and at 2 o’clock A. M. of the twenty-fourth marched from its camp and boarded the steamers James Guy and Mount Vernon. In the bustle and stress incident to the departure, the busy Colonel found time to write two remarkable letters: one to his parents, the other to Miss Spafford, his fiancée. They breathe a presentiment of death and were found (at least the former, and I think the latter) upon his body. The letter addressed to Miss Spafford has not appeared before in print and has been read by but a limited number of persons. Colonel Pg 370 Ellsworth’s last act before leaving his tent was to look at her portrait and place it in his bosom.[130]

My dear Father and Mother: The Regiment is ordered to move across the river tonight. We have no means of knowing what reception we are to meet with. I am inclined to the opinion that our entrance to the City of Alexandria will be hotly contested, as I am just informed that a large force have arrived there today. Should this happen, my dear parents, it may be my lot to be injured in some manner. Whatever may happen, cherish the consolation that I was engaged in the performance of a sacred duty; and tonight, thinking over the probabilities of tomorrow, and the occurrences of the past, I am perfectly content to accept whatever my fortune may be, confident that He who noteth even the fall of a sparrow will have some purpose even in the fate of one like me.

My darling and ever-loved parents, good-bye. God bless, protect and care for you. Elmer.

*  *  *  *  *

My own darling Kitty. My Regiment is ordered to cross the river & move on Alexandria within six hours. We may meet with a warm reception & my darling among so many careless fellows one is somewhat likely to be hit.

If anything should happen—Darling just accept this assurance, the only thing I can leave you—The highest happiness I looked for on earth was a union with you—You have more than realised the hopes I formed regarding your advancement—And I believe I love you with all the ardor I am capable of—You know my darling any attempt of mine to convey an adequate expression of my feelings must be simply futile—God bless you, as you deserve and grant you a happy & usefull life & us a union hereafter. Truly your own, Elmer.

P. S.

Give my love to mother & father (such they truly were to me) and thank them again for all their kindness to me—I regret I can make no better return for it—Again Good bye. God bless you my own darling.



Reproduced by courtesy of Mrs. Charles H. Godfrey, Rockford, Illinois

It was a beautiful moonlight night and the bayonets of the troops could be seen glittering as they crossed the Long and Georgetown bridges for the invasion of Virginia. The Pg 371 regiment arrived at Alexandria, seven miles below, at sunrise, disembarked unopposed, formed near the wharf, and Colonel Ellsworth with a squad of men from Company “A” started at “double quick” into the city, intending to seize the telegraph office and dispatches. Observing the Confederate flag flying from the roof of the Marshall House, he sent a sergeant with an order for Company “A” to come up at once. It was evidently his purpose to detail the company to remove the flag, for he then passed on; but, as if reconsidering, turned and entered the hotel. It should be stated here that the regiment had come to Alexandria under embarrassing circumstances; for not only had certain of the citizens expressed a desire that they should not be sent to the town, but General Mansfield, commanding at Washington, had threatened to muster them out of the service should they not conduct themselves in an orderly manner. This partially explains Colonel Ellsworth’s desire to obtain the flag without delay, fearing that it might enrage the men and lead to acts of vandalism. On the other hand, it is affirmed that before he left New York with his regiment, he remarked that “he would bring to the city the first secession flag he might encounter,” and that “he would not order any of his men to go where he would not go himself.” Just what was in the young colonel’s mind will never be known; probably a variety of motives impelled him to the act. He knew that the city of Washington would be looking for the lowering of the “bastard flag,” which for days had been flaunted as an insult and challenge to the capital city. President Lincoln at that very moment might be looking anxiously from the windows of the White House for its disappearance!

The Marshall House is an old landmark of Alexandria, constructed of brick and three stories high; it was famous as having entertained Washington. The flag was flying from a staff about twenty-five feet in length, attached to the frame of a rear dormer window, and was reached by ascending to Pg 372 the attic by a stairway which had a landing and turn at the middle. Colonel Ellsworth and his party, having left guards at proper intervals, secured the flag, and were coming down from the attic, when Corporal Francis E. Brownell, who was ahead, observed a man with a gun, who proved to be James W. Jackson, proprietor of the house, standing at the foot of the stairs. He immediately sprang below, and struck down the weapon but before he could prevent him Jackson raised his gun, a double-barrel shotgun, and fired at Colonel Ellsworth, who had come onto the middle landing and taken a step or two down, the charge entering his left breast. The Colonel cried “My God!” and plunged headlong to the floor below, uttering soon after but a low moan. He fell near the room that had been occupied by Washington, and the medal he wore, inscribed, “Non nobis, sed pro patria,” was wet with his blood. Brownell with great coolness and rapidity of action took aim and firing struck Jackson in the middle of the face and as he reeled to fall plunged his sword bayonet through him, the assassin’s second shot flying harmlessly over Brownell’s head. A scene of confusion followed the double tragedy, heart-rending cries of agony, as Jackson’s wife bewailed her loss, resounded through the hotel, while the Zouaves, fearing that they were trapped in a nest of secessionists, posted themselves so as to command the corridors and ordered all guests into their rooms on peril of being shot down. Company “A” soon arrived on the ground, however, and on a litter improvised out of muskets, the body of Ellsworth was borne to the river, placed on the James Guy, and conveyed immediately to Washington.

Among the many tributes that were published in honor of Ellsworth, none were comparable to the beautiful words sent by President Lincoln to his parents. He wrote:[131]

Pg 373 “In the untimely loss of your noble son, our affliction here is scarcely less than your own. So much of promised usefulness to one’s country, and of bright hopes for one’s self and friends, have rarely been so suddenly darkened as in his fall. In size, in years, and in youthful appearance, a boy only, his power to command men, was surpassingly great. This power, combined with a fine intellect, and indomitable energy, and a taste altogether military, constituted in him, as seemed to me, the best natural talent, in that department, I ever knew. And yet he was singularly modest and deferential in social intercourse. My acquaintance with him began less than two years ago; yet through the latter half of the intervening period, it was as intimate as the disparity of our ages, and my engrossing engagements, would permit. To me, he appeared to have no indulgences or pastimes; and I never heard him utter a profane or an intemperate word. What was conclusive of his good heart, he never forgot his parents. The honors he labored for so laudably, and, in the sad end, so gallantly gave his life, he meant for them, no less than for himself.

“In the hope that it may be no intrusion upon the sacredness of your sorrow, I have ventured to address you this tribute to the memory of my young friend, and your brave and early fallen child.

“May God give you the consolation which is beyond all earthly power.

“Sincerely your friend in common affliction.

A. Lincoln.”

Importunate words throng me for expression, but they cannot be accommodated further; the rage and grief of the Fire Zouaves and their hardly-prevented purpose of burning the city of Alexandria; the universal sorrow and demonstrations of grief all along the funeral route from Washington to Mechanicsville. I would like to tell of my acquaintance with and reminiscences of Ellsworth’s parents, of how the government provided liberally for them, of how their son Elmer fulfilled in death the desire that he had been unable to accomplish in life: that his mother might “ride in a carriage.”

The fame of Ellsworth is destined to live on and to increase, for he individualized those elements of character which are loved and admired by the race universally. There was a deep well of patriotism in his romantic, generous nature, informed and directed by a keen and comprehensive intellect. Pg 374 Though his life is almost like a fairy tale, it is steadied and rationalized by deep thoughtfulness, filial affection, and unaffected piety. The far generations will linger reverently over that final word of love to his parents and will shed a tear as they read of his last look at the portrait of the bride of his heart and of his going out to die. Ellsworth will yet come to his own and be appreciated and valued and loved for what he was: one of the noblest, purest, and ablest patriots who ever died for his country.

[128] This article, which is intended to serve as an introduction to a biography of Colonel Ellsworth which I hope to bring out, comprises but a fraction of the data bearing upon his life and times which I have in my possession. To those who have afforded me assistance in the collection of this material I am deeply grateful; in particular I desire to express my indebtedness to the following persons: Milo M. Quaife, superintendent, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison; Caroline M. McIlvaine, librarian, Chicago Historical Society; Eugenia S. Godfrey, Rockford, Illinois; Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, librarian, Illinois State Historical Society, Springfield; Isabella K. Rhodes, acting reference librarian, New York State Library, Albany; Jessie F. Wheeler, Reference Department, Troy Public Library; William A. Saxton, chief, Bureau of War Records, Albany, New York.

[129] Ellsworth’s diary has disappeared from view and there is a report which bears considerable evidence of being accurate that it was destroyed in later years by Ellsworth’s parents. However this may be, it was given, upon his death, to Corporal Brownell, who had killed Jackson, his assassin. John Hay seems to have had access to it at one time, for in an article by him in McClure’s Magazine, VI, 354, many citations from the diary are given. Prior to this, an unidentified writer in the Chicago Times of October 28, 1883, and in the National Tribune of October 15, 1885 cites so extensively from Ellsworth’s diary as to render it probable that he had possession of it either at that or at some prior time.

[130] The letter to Miss Spafford is owned by her sister, Mrs. Charles H. Godfrey, of Rockford. The letter to Ellsworth’s parents has been published in photographic reproduction in the Photographic History of the Civil War, edited by Francis T. Miller (New York, 1911, 10 vols.), I, 351.

[131] This letter is in the collection of Judd Stewart. It was privately printed in facsimile, with appropriate editing by Frederick H. Meserve, by the Quill Club of New York in 1916.

Pg 375


Seventy years ago the people of Wisconsin were deeply stirred over the issues connected with the framing of a constitution and admission to statehood. In the Wisconsin Banner, the first German newspaper in the state, was printed on March 20, 1847, a metrical argument of 168 lines in favor of “Die Constitution.” The recent posture of public affairs seems to render apposite the reprinting of a portion of this poem, which affords a fair idea of the attitude of Wisconsin Germans of the forties toward certain questions which the whirligig of time has again brought to the fore. We print the selection in the original German and in English translation. For making the latter, acknowledgement is due Dr. Charles Giessing, of Princeton, formerly of the University of Wisconsin.

“Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?
Wo Eide schwört ein Druck der Hand!
Wo Treue hell vom Auge blitzt,
Und Liebe warm im Herzen sitzt!”
So sang ein Mann im Hochgefühl der Kraft,
Der hat kein Herz, den dieses Lügen straft.
Was treibt den Deutschen über Land und Meere?
Sagt, warum kämpft er für die Union?
Stirbt auf dem Feld des Ruhmes und der Ehre,
Für Freiheit und für diese Nation?
Braust nicht der Rhein, der freie deutsche Rhein?
Was treibt ihn fort vom heimathlichen Herde?
Stösst man ihn aus dem Vaterlande?—Nein!
Dort, dort geht er einher mit krummem Rücken.
Der Deutsche ist zur Langmuth so geneigt:
Wer leben will, so heisst es, muss sich bücken.
Halt’s Maul, ich will Ihn lehren, dass er [Er] schweigt!
In Fesseln wird der freie Geist gebunden,
Er darf nicht reden, was er ausgedacht,
Die Seele wird ihm aus dem Leib geschunden,
Pg 376
Wenn sein beleidigtes Gefühl erwacht.
Man betet in Egypten heut’ger Tage
Die Kühe und die Zwiebeln an,
Allein, bei Gott! den deutschen Mann,
Den sehr Betrognen, treffe unsre Klage,
Der sich so weit, so weit vergehen kann,
Und stösst das Recht zurück, das ihm gegeben
Zu einem freien, selbstbewussten Leben.
“Where is the German Fatherland?
Where oaths are sworn by grasp of hand!
Where loyalty gleams from the eye,
And warm love makes the heart beat high.”
Thus sang a man sure of his pow’r and youth,
He has no heart who contradicts its truth.
What drives the German over sea and land,
What force is it that makes the Union dear,
That on the battle-field he takes his stand
To die for liberty, and for this nation here?
Does not the Rhine, free German Rhine still roar,
What drives him forth from hearth and home?
Perchance he’s banished?—Nevermore!
In yonder land stooped o’er a crutch they walk
(The Germans are too supple in their will),
“Who wants to live,” they’re told, “bend to the yoke!
Shut up! We’ll teach you to be still!”
Freedom of thought in chains is pent,
One may not utter what he thinks,—
His soul perforce is from his body rent,
If pride, awakened, from oppression shrinks.
In Egypt there are men so odd
Who worship cows and onions—their belief.
The German man, howe’er, stirs us to grief,
(Deluded and deceived so oft, good God!)
If he so far be blinded to relief
As to reject this opportunity
Of self-assertive life and free.
Pg 377


Louise Phelps Kellogg

The colony of Massachusetts had successfully resisted the enforcement of the Stamp Act, and had forced its repeal by the British Parliament. None the less its rebellious attitude brought a measure of punishment—the ministry decreed that four regiments should be quartered in Boston, which had hitherto been free from the obnoxious presence of a garrison. The coming of the troops was awaited with apprehension; the majority of the townspeople considered their presence as a personal affront. However, the soldiers were disembarked at the long wharf and marched to the Common without any hostile demonstration on the part of the populace. The soldiers soon settled in barracks and entered upon a period of dull inactivity, broken only by occasional clashes with the rougher elements of the town’s population. After a year had passed away two of the four regiments were withdrawn, leaving the Fourteenth and the Twenty-ninth, which, after the events of the massacre, were nicknamed the “Sam Adams regiments.”

In the strained relations between the colonial authorities and the home government, the presence of the troops in Boston acted as a constant irritant. The ruder class of the town’s population, sailors, ropemakers, and apprentice lads, were imbued with the sentiments of the patriotic party, but lacked the restraint and self-control that marked its leaders. The soldiers became a constant butt for the rough witticisms of the lower town element; they were taunted with the epithets of “bloody-backs” and “lobsters” in derision of their uniform. They were constantly dared to fight, and continually reminded of the restriction that forbade a movement of aggression without the orders of a civil magistrate. Several Pg 378 times individual soldiers were provoked into fisticuff contests, and frequently came off second best in such encounters with the town roughs. Upon the whole, the troops showed commendable restraint, and, in spite of the bad blood between them and the populace, for nearly two years no open clash took place.

On the night of March 5, 1770, an incident occurred which, trivial in itself, led to momentous consequences. A guard stationed at the Custom House in King’s Square was set upon by a crowd of roughs, and assaulted with a volley of snowballs. Summoning assistance, the single soldier was reënforced by a squad of six under command of Captain Thomas Preston. The town crowd, instead of dispersing, continued its insults, while its number was constantly swelled by fresh recruits. During the excitement someone rang the town fire bell, and the surrounding populace poured into the square to witness the nonexistent conflagration. The restraint of the troops reached the breaking point. In the mêlée an order to fire was believed to have been heard. The soldiers leveled their fusees and fired into the crowd, the first volley killing four bystanders and wounding several more. Aghast at the consequences of their act, the offending squad withdrew to the near-by barracks, leaving the “town-born” to bear away their dead and wounded.

The excitement in the city grew apace throughout the hours of the night. The townspeople gathered in the streets, while as the news spread abroad hundreds flocked in from the countryside. The town committee met at once, and demanded of the governor that the troops be removed to the castle in the harbor. After much hesitation and parleying on the part of the authorities, the request was granted, and orders were reluctantly given to evacuate the city barracks. Preston and his firing squad were arrested and placed in the town gaol. The exasperation and resentment of the populace threatened dire consequences.

Pg 379 On March 8 occurred the public funeral of the victims, and the passions of the townspeople were fanned to a still hotter flame; it was said that fifteen thousand people followed the four coffins to their last resting place, and that threats of vengeance were openly expressed. The trial for murder of Preston and the soldiers in the colony’s civil courts soon followed. Excitement against the accused ran high. Nevertheless, to the honor of Massachusetts the indicted were given a fair trial, while two of the colony’s ablest advocates, John Adams and Josiah Quincy, Jr., offered at the risk of their reputations and popularity to defend the accused. Under these circumstances Preston and all but two of the soldiers were acquitted. The latter received a light sentence for manslaughter.

In the meantime the town committee, fearing the adverse effect of this incident upon the British authorities, and dreading the probable misrepresentation of the facts before the British public, prepared a defense of the colony’s position which they published in a pamphlet entitled: A Short Narrative of the horrid Massacre in Boston, Perpetrated in the Evening of the Fifth Day of March, 1770. By Soldiers of the XXIXth Regiment; which with the XIVth Regiment Were then Quartered there: with some Observations on the state of things prior to that Catastrophe. Printed by Order of the Town of Boston, and Sold by Edes and Gill in Queen-Street And T. & J. Fleet in Cornhill, 1770.

Attached to this pamphlet was a folded plate, which, according to an inscription in the lower right-hand corner was “Engraved Printed & Sold by Paul Revere Boston.” Recently Mr. Frank J. Wilder, of Boston, a member of the State Historical Society, presented to its Library one of the early reproductions, now become rare, of this celebrated engraving. The receipt of this interesting gift, which now hangs in the military history room of the Museum, has Pg 380 directed attention to the history of the print, which proves to be of no less interest than is the print itself.

Paul Revere, later so prominently associated with the first struggle of the Revolutionary War, was of Huguenot descent, a native of Boston, and had for some time served the colony as a gold- and silversmith. His first efforts at engraving were confined to silver plate; later he began to produce engravings drawn on copper plates and printed on paper. One of the earliest of these productions was a view of Boston showing the disembarkation of the troops. Revere was an ardent patriot, and in all probability formed one of the crowd of spectators in King Street Square when the soldiers fired upon the populace. In the Boston Public Library is still preserved a sketch by his hand of the site of the massacre, with indications on the diagram showing where the victims fell. This drawing was no doubt used during the trial of Captain Preston and his soldiers.

Revere was likewise in close personal relations with Edes and Gill, the publishers of the exculpatory pamphlet, and he often prepared wood cuts for the paper they issued, the Boston Gazette and Country Journal. An interesting illustration of his work appears in the issue of this journal for March 12, 1770, where above the column devoted to an account of the public funeral of the victims appear four miniature black coffins. That these were the work of Revere we learn from an old account book, found among his papers, wherein, under the entry for March 9, is a charge to Edes and Gill of six shillings for “Engraving 5 Coffings for Massacre,” while pinned to the page is a paper pattern the size and shape of the tiny coffins appearing in the newspaper. The State Historical Society of Wisconsin possesses a copy of this old journal, and there may be seen the heavily black-leaded page, on which mourning is displayed for the Boston dead, and the prints of the “coffings” engraved by Revere, on each of which is cut a skull and crossbones over the initials Pg 381 of the victim. On that of the youngest of the four appear the words: “Ae. 17,” with a scythe and hourglass indicative of his having been cut off in the flower of youth. On the same page with the account of the tragedy and the funeral occurs the following interesting letter from Captain Preston:

Boston-Gaol, Monday, 12th March, 1770.

Messieurs Edes & Gill,

Permit me thro’ the Channel of your Paper, to return my Thanks in the most Publick Manner to the Inhabitants of this Town—who throwing aside all Party and Prejudice, have with the utmost Humanity and Freedom stept forth Advocates for Truth, in Defence of my injured Innocence, in the late unhappy Affair that happened on Monday Night last: And to assure them, that I shall ever have the highest Sense of the Justice they have done me, which will be ever gratefully remembered, by

Their much obliged and most obedient humble Servant,

Thomas Preston.

Let us now examine the picture which Paul Revere prepared to be presented, with the official pamphlet, to the view of the British public in order to affect its opinion of the action of the troops. The engraving is 8½ by 9¾ inches in size, and is colored by hand in red, blue, green, and brown. In the background is the Boston town hall, now known as the “Old State House,” with its graceful clock-tower rising into a pale blue sky. At the upper left hand is a chubby, cheerful-looking crescent moon. The public square is framed on both sides by its enclosing buildings, over the portal of one of which, at the right, is the inscription “G R (for Georgius Rex) Custom House.” Higher still, along the entire façade of the building stretches the imaginary and ironical designation “Butcher’s Hall.”

In the foreground of the picture, and in front of the Custom House stands in a menacing attitude the file of soldiers, very red of coats and black of boots. Each has his gun outstretched with its bayonet pointing to the crowd, while the clouds of smoke that roll around and behind the figures testify that the guns have just been discharged among the Pg 382 unhappy bystanders. At the extreme right of the line of soldiers stands Captain Preston with uplifted, menacing sword. Opposite the firing squad is the crowd of citizens, some of whom have fallen to the ground, or are being supported in the arms of their comrades. From the breasts and temples of the wounded streams of blood pour forth and dye the pavement roundabout. The crowd is in great agitation. One venturesome townsman lifts his hand as though he would push back an advancing bayonet. Another clasps his hands in horror to his breast. Some of the bystanders have turned as if to flee, but most of them are engaged in succoring their wounded comrades. One man in brown coat and green vest is being tenderly lifted by two friends; his head falls helplessly to one side while a bright red jet of blood pours from his breast over the green waistcoat. One of the victims lies on his back, his head drawn up as if he were in agony, one hand clasps his breast, from a wound in which a crimson stream flows forth. The boy victim lies motionless on the ground, a pool of blood from his forehead dyeing the pavement near his head. In front of this whole group stands a composed, indifferent-looking dog, quite unmoved by the tragic scene behind him. The quaint costumes and stiff attitudes of the actors in the picture, the shapeless, ill-drawn legs of the soldiers, and the stolid, expressionless faces of the participants indicate that the engraver was a tyro in his art. To the observer, however, these defects in some measure enhance the interest of the picture and give it the charm peculiar to primitive productions.



The inscriptions above and below the print add to its intrinsic interest. The passionate appeal for sympathy for the slain made by these inscriptions indicates the depths of feeling aroused by the massacre. Across the top is printed, “The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Regt.” Underneath the picture is the following remarkable effusion, probably Pg 383 from the pen of Paul Revere himself, who frequently indulged in such attempts at literary effort:

Unhappy Boston! See thy Sons deplore.
Thy hallow’d Walks besmear’d with guiltless Gore.
While faithless P——n [Preston] and his savage Bands,
With murd’rous Rancour stretch their bloody Hands;
Like fierce Barbarians grinning o’er their Prey,
Approve the Carnage, and enjoy the Day.
If scalding drops from Rage from Anguish Wrung
If speechless Sorrows lab’ring for a Tongue,
Or if a weeping World can aught appease
The plaintive Ghosts of Victims such as these;
The Patriot’s copious Tears for each are shed,
A glorious Tribute which embalms the Dead.
But know Fate summons to that awful Goal
Where Justice strips the Murd’rer of his Soul;
Should venal C——ts the scandal of the Land,
Snatch the relentless Villain from her Hand,
Keen Execrations on this Plate inscrib’d,
Shall reach a Judge who never can be brib’d.

The unhappy Sufferers were Messs Saml Gray, Saml Maverick, Jams Caldwell, Crispus Attucks & Patk Carr killed. Six wounded; two of them (Christr Monk & John Clark) Mortally.

Two hundred copies of the pamphlet were issued in the first edition, and for his work upon the plate the Revere papers tell us that the engraver received five pounds. A number of variants of the original plate appeared within a few months of its production. One was reduced in size to accompany an octavo edition of the pamphlet. This latter engraving was 4½ by 6⅝ inches. It had no inscription at the top but underneath bore the following words: “The Massacre perpetrated in King Street on March 5th 1770, in which Messrs Saml Gray, Saml Maverick, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks Patrick Carr were Killed, six others Wounded two of them Mortally.” The different proportions of this plate give to the picture more sky and foreground than the one we have described above. The second Pg 384 edition of the pamphlet with the smaller engraving was reprinted without change in London by E. & C. Dilly and J. Almon in the same year that the Short Narrative appeared in Boston.

Two other London editions of the pamphlet were issued the same year by the publishing firm of W. Bingley in Newgate Street. One of these has for its frontispiece an engraving 8½ by 12 inches in size, with the following inscription across the top: “The Fruits of Arbitrary Power; or the Bloody Massacre, Perpetrated in King Street, Boston by a Party of the XXIX Regt.” Underneath is printed Revere’s original poem, without the accompanying names of the victims. On the left of the poem the following verse is surmounted by a skull and crossbones within a wreath: “How long shall they utter and speak hard things? And all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. Ps. XCIV, 4, 5.” On the right of the poem appears the design of a liberty cap in clouds from which issue forks of lightning and two broken swords. Underneath is printed, “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Ps. XCIV, 6, 7.” Some of these prints have been found with only the two devices and without the scriptural quotations.

Still one more print appeared in London in 1770 which shows marked variations from all those previously described. These were all variants of Revere’s original plate, and differ only in size, proportions, and inscriptions. The print which we now describe is so different in composition and so much better in execution that it would seem to be the work of another artist than Revere. Not only are the proportions of the picture changed, but the handling of the perspective is much better, the drawing of the figures, and the expression of the faces show the handiwork of a genuine artist. The Pg 385 arrangement of the figures is the same, but the soldiers’ legs become quite possible members of their bodies, able to bear a man’s weight. The fallen figures lie in better and easier attitudes. The grouping of the crowd is less confused, and in the background appear the heads of two women wearing bonnets, that are not seen in the original Revere prints. Moreover, there is no dog in the foreground and no moon in the sky of this latter print. The question arises whether some other artist adapted Revere’s composition, materially improving it in so doing, or whether Revere himself secured his suggestions for his work from the author of this latter print. This is answered by a letter found some years since among the Pelham-Copley papers in the British Public Record Office and printed by the Massachusetts Historical Society in one of its recent volumes of Collections.

Henry Pelham was a young half brother of the famous colonial artist Copley, and the original of the latter’s lovely picture, “The Boy with a Squirrel.” Young Pelham lived in a family of artists and himself early displayed considerable talent. He learned engraving from his father Peter Pelham, one of Boston’s earliest engravers. The following letter was written by the younger Pelham to Paul Revere:

Thursday Morng. Boston, March 29, 1770.


When I heard that you was cutting a plate of the late Murder. I thought it impossible, as I knew you was not capable of doing it unless you coppied it from mine and as I thought I had entrusted it in the hands of a person who had more regard to the dictates of Honour and Justice than to take the undue advantage you have done of the confidence and Trust I reposed in you. But I find I was mistaken, and after being at the great Trouble and Expence of making a design paying for paper, printing &c, find myself in the most ungenerous Manner deprived, not only of any proposed Advantage, but even of the expence I have been at, as truly as if you had plundered me on the highway. It you are insensible of the Dishonour you have brought on yourself by this Act, the World will Pg 386 not be so. However, I leave you to reflect upon and consider of one of the most dishonorable Actions you could well be guilty of.

H. Pelham.

In the absence of any defense by Paul Revere, and in the presence of the better engraving made along the lines and with the same general arrangement as that claimed by Revere, it would seem that we must convict the latter of the plagiarism with which Pelham charged him. Some of the latter’s prints were issued, since among his papers is the charge in March, 1770, of three pounds nine shillings by one Daniel Rea “To printing 575 of your Prints @ 12| Pr. Hund.” Pelham was a much abler artist than Revere; moreover, it should be noted that the latter prints upon his engraving only the words, “engraved, printed, and sold by Paul Revere,” all of which might have been the literal truth, had he utilized the design of the younger artist. None the less his appropriation without compensation of his young neighbor’s design is much to his discredit, and detracts from the interest and enjoyment with which we examine this most famous and interesting of Paul Revere’s engravings.

The vogue for this picture of the massacre has been very great from the time of its first printing until the present. We have seen how many editions appeared in 1770. These spread rapidly throughout all the English colonies in America. So popular did the prints become that as early as 1785 a new edition became necessary, while the original prints were much in demand, and formed part of early collections of Americana. Originals of 1770 are now so highly prized that single copies sell for anywhere from $750 to $1,000. In 1832 an excellent reproduction was issued, which has in its turn become rare enough to command $50 upon the market.

How much the publication of the original prints had to do with the profound sensation that the “Boston Massacre” awakened everywhere among the American colonies we have no means of judging. Certainly the representation was calculated Pg 387 to arouse intense resentment against the British soldiery, and this feeling may have contributed to the alacrity with which the colonists took up arms in defense of their liberty. From a trivial encounter between imperial troops and the Boston mob, the incident arose to a position of international importance. Its pictorial presentation, therefore, has become a part of our national history.

Pg 388



The advent of the world struggle which still rages between the forces of autocracy and democracy found our nation as a whole, and many of us as individuals, unprepared to meet the new conditions and to withstand the test of the new issues with which we were confronted. But it did not find the mind of Paul Husting wanting in the needful qualities of intellect, or his soul in those of courage.

In the brief period of service as senator from Wisconsin he revealed himself as one of Wisconsin’s greatest sons, and his untimely death in October, 1917, was a genuine calamity both to state and to nation in their hour of trial and danger. Not often does the opportunity occur to a historical journal to publish documents fraught at the same time with a high degree of historical value and of interest for their bearing on issues still current. Such an opportunity, we think, is afforded the Wisconsin Magazine of History in connection with the documents which follow. The letters speak for themselves and aside from certain minor typographical corrections we present them unedited. However, we cannot refrain, in concluding this introductory note, from calling the reader’s attention to the significance of the dates of the several letters: the first, following the sinking of the Lusitania; the second, at the time the embargo-on-munitions discussion was rife; the third, following our entrance into the world war.

Mayville, Wis., May 14, 1915.

—— ——,
——, Wis.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of May 10th, enclosing clipping from a Chilton newspaper, was duly received and read. The clipping Pg 389 which you have enclosed entitled “The United States, an Ally of England against Germany and Austria-Hungary” is a very coarse and vituperative and un-American attack on President Wilson and his administration. In this article, the President in substance and effect is portrayed as a weakling, a tool of England, a hypocrite, who pretends to be what he is not, and with sanctimonious phrase is trying to mislead the people. The administration is charged with being in a secret pact with England against Germany and winds up with asking the people of this country how long they are going to stand the disgrace of having such a government.

I do not believe that I have the honor of your acquaintance but, nevertheless, I feel that the article sent me and your letter should be replied to because there are other papers and other men engaged in carrying out this sort of propaganda.

There are, I know, a number of good and patriotic citizens of this country, who, because of lack of information, and because of their intense sympathy for relatives and friends now fighting in the old country, have permitted themselves to be misled in the belief that this country has unjustly, and, contrary to the laws of nations, permitted the shipment of munitions of war to European countries. There are, however, also, a number of men and newspapers who are merely repeating and spreading a propaganda originating in the old country with a design and purpose to weaken their own government and aid and strengthen one of the belligerent nations. I hope that I am addressing you as one who may be put in the first class mentioned.

Your criticism of President Wilson must be the result either of blind partisanship, of a lack of familiarity with the facts relating to our present foreign relations, of a failure to fully comprehend the exact meaning and difficulties of neutrality, or of a desire to plunge this country into [the] European embroglio without considering whether we have any cause or excuse for entering that awful conflict. Considerations of partisanship are so loathsome in times of great national crises that I believe you incapable of entertaining such and I freely acquit you of such base motives. The high-minded attitude of former President Taft ought to be sufficient to deter everyone from seeking to make political or Pg 390 partisan capital out of the present delicate situation. I cannot conceive that you feel yourself in closer allegiance to Germany than you do to this nation, for then your words would not be those of an American citizen but of one who is an alien, at least in thought, and not entitled to the protection or blessings of our free government. I assume that you are laboring under a misconception of the facts and upon the assumption that you have been misguided, I am writing you fully in reply to your letter.

I find no fault with American citizens or American newspapers (in this, of course, I include those printed in the German language) that sympathize with Germany as against England nor do I find any fault with the criticism directed against England’s war policy or methods. Our government has repeatedly remonstrated and protested to England against the interference with our commerce with neutral countries, in the shipment of non-contraband of war to belligerent countries, in the unlawful seizure of our vessels, and in the general interference with our rights as a neutral nation. I wish to add my objections and express my resentment against England for her studied and persistent violations of many provisions of the international law. We have protested and have done everything that we lawfully and justly could do to support and maintain our rights, short of going to war. Withal, however, no American ships or lives have been lost as a result of England’s operations upon the sea and no passenger boat carrying citizens of the United States has been sunk.

In the obstruction of our commerce and our dealings with foreign nations, Germany has gone as far as its ability permitted and is certainly subject, in this respect, to the same criticism and resentment that we have directed against England. It seems that England and Germany in the operation of the war in retaliation and in reprisal have set aside the international code and are justifying anything and everything upon the ground or plea of necessity. So long as this mode of warfare is directed against one another of the belligerent countries or their citizens, while we stand horrified and appalled, we may still have no just cause for interference. We have suffered these inconveniences and losses to Pg 391 our business because not only our government, but our people desire peace, and, furthermore, because we have no desire to interfere between the belligerent countries. Now, while at most, Germany can only claim that, in respect to the hindrance to our commerce, she has done no worse than England, yet, in addition to this, ships flying the American flag have been assailed and sunk by her and American lives taken without justification and now the world is appalled by the destruction of over 1,200 lives ruthlessly taken and men, women, and children have gone down to their death defenseless and undefended.

It is no defense or justification of this act as against our country that some other nation by its unlawful acts compelled the country at fault also to commit unlawful acts by way of reprisal.

It is no defense to say that American citizens who lost their lives were warned and that they lost their lives through their own contributory negligence. No warning to commit an unlawful act is a defense or justification of such unlawful act. Such warning, in fact, negatives the idea of accident and evidences premeditation and design to commit the unlawful act.

We know that the Lusitania was sunk, that more than 100 American lives were lost, and we must hold the country directly responsible for a deed which has shocked the civilized world and which appears to have been in violation of the law governing, and practices obtaining in, civilized warfare. Notwithstanding the horror and resentment aroused in the public mind, our President is still striving to avert war!

What would you now say if a German liner with Americans aboard had been sunk by an English torpedo under like circumstances and our President would not have counseled war against the offending country but would still have stood for peace? Would you not have said then that this country was favoring England and would you not have reiterated and repeated your slander that this country is an ally of England’s?

In the slanderous clipping sent me, it is charged that this country is pretending neutrality when in fact, by not forbidding the shipment of arms and munitions of war, we are violating the law of nations governing neutrals.

Pg 392 This slander against our country has been repeated over and over again by thoughtless men and by partisan newspapers. It originated across the sea with those who well know the falsity and hypocrisy of the charge and who have passed it on to a well-meaning and sympathetic, but over-zealous and mistaken, people and press for the purpose of accomplishing a selfish end. This slander has been fostered and given currency also by some designing men and by some designing newspapers who appear to have forgotten their duty to their country and who appear to be concerned more with the effect that the present war has upon some foreign country than with its effect upon our own country.

The laws of nations are the rules which determine the conduct of the general body of civilized states in their dealings with one another. Its doctrines are founded on legal, not simply on ethical ideas; since they purport to be rules of justice, not counsels of perfection, the foreign policies of a country are not founded upon feelings of moral rightness but upon precedents, treaties, and opinions of those recognized as authority.

International law is a part of the law of the land and, since the interest of the United States with foreign nations and the policies in regard to them are placed by the Constitution in the hands of the federal government, its decisions upon these subjects are obligatory upon every citizen.

The above are some of the elementary principles of international law. These nations which are protected by these provisions also are subject to corresponding duties and obligations. Those which invoke the law must obey the law. International law, being the joint product of civilized nations, adopted and made by the common and joint consent of nations, of course, can not be repealed or amended by any one nation but only by the mutual consent of all countries. If it were otherwise, each country would make its own international law to be amended or repealed at the will of such country and thus would have no effect either upon itself or any other nation.

Now we have an international law and its provisions are well defined and recognized. Now is there any provision in this law which forbids or makes unlawful the shipment of Pg 393 arms by citizens of a neutral country to a belligerent country or which gives a neutral country the privilege to forbid such shipment? No. Then why not? Because it has been the law since civilization began for citizens of neutral countries to engage in commerce as they chose and at their risk, subject only to the right of belligerents to intercept and seize contraband of war in transit to a belligerent enemy. In all the wars in which this country has been engaged, the citizens of the countries now warring in Europe have recognized and countenanced this practice of selling arms to our enemy while we were at war and we have neither protested nor complained against it, fully recognizing that the citizens of such countries were entirely within their rights, that we had no just cause for complaint. We recognized that it would have been a violation of international law if at that time the said countries had prohibited the shipment of munitions of war with a purpose clearly manifested to aid or benefit either ourselves or our enemy.

For scores of years those countries now engaged in the European war have been arming themselves and fortifying their country with the positive knowledge that sooner or later a conflict of the kind now raging would occur. England, France, and Russia did and so did Germany and Austria. They also well knew that, under the provisions of international law, the shipment of arms and munitions of war was permissible subject to the interception and seizure of them by belligerent enemies. Long before this war, which they knew was inevitable, started Germany and Austria had the opportunity and the influence to have changed the international law and there is no doubt that the United States would have joined them in this amendment. Far-seeing as its statesmen are and having well in mind the provisions of international law, yet, notwithstanding, Germany entered this war with the law as it now stands.

If international law had, at the beginning of the present war, prohibited the shipment of munitions of war from this country and the United States nevertheless had violated the rule and permitted the shipment of munitions of war, then it could be charged and convicted of a violation of the law and a breach of neutrality by the country adversely affected Pg 394 by such violation. Why? Because we would then have been guilty of an affirmative act unlawfully changing the established law to the injury and prejudice of a country with whom we are at peace without its consent. Such act would have been a breach of neutrality because, international law having been established by mutual consent, we would have no right to repeal and amend that law without the consent of those adversely affected by the change.

Now to prohibit and prevent the shipment of munitions of war by an affirmative act on our part, at the behest and for the exclusive benefit of one of the countries now at war, without the consent of the nations adversely affected thereby, would be a violation of international law and would constitute a breach of neutrality on our part which would be indefensible from the standpoint of good faith and good friendship to all on our part. Now it must be remembered that the United States government is not engaged in the shipment of munitions of war to other countries. A good many misguided and uninformed people have been led to believe that this country as a nation is thus engaged. It is true, that citizens of this country as a matter of business are engaged in manufacturing and selling to individuals, from whatever country they may come, munitions of war, as citizens of Germany, Austria, and other belligerent countries have done since time immemorial. President Wilson has not approved such shipments. It is entirely probable that, from a moral standpoint, he abhors the manufacture and sale of instruments and commodities to be used in the slaughter of human beings. He is a man of peace, and, if he had his way, wars in the future would be an impossibility.

But, as President of the United States,—a country which is in no sense responsible for this war—a country whose sole and passionate desire is to keep out of this conflict—Woodrow Wilson must execute the laws as he finds them and must maintain the neutrality of this country in accordance with the law of nations. This he has done patiently, persistently, and consistently, notwithstanding that blind and bitter partisanship, now on one side, now on the other, has done its best to shove him off his balance.

Pg 395 Permit me to say that you, and men like you, and newspapers publishing like articles commit a base and cruel slander on the President and on your country when you state otherwise. This country, of all the countries of the world, has kept its obligations and its poise.

In war-maddened Europe both England and Germany have attempted to annul the law to suit the exigencies of the moment. Our country, however, has contended, and, clearly within its rights, has demanded the observance of the law of nations and has refused to recognize the right of the warring nations to annul or to amend the same to our damage or in derogation of our rights.

How, then, in view of these facts, could we hold belligerents to their lawful duties if we were at the same time to violate the law and put ourselves in the same class with them. But this is what you and other critics ask this country to do. It is clear that you do not want this country to be neutral; you want it to take an affirmative and active part by governmental action to help one country and hurt another. Your and my government is endeavoring to maintain the status quo of a real neutrality. Those who are responsible for this movement which you approve of are endeavoring to shake and disturb it. Those who complain of our want of neutrality are complaining only because we have not become an ally of the country they favor.

If we listened to the insidious demands made by these countries that would have us violate our lawful obligation to respect the law of nations by affirmatively aiding and assisting their side, would we not be stopped from demanding reparation for the misconduct of the other countries who have been prejudiced by our unlawful and unneutral act? And would not such a flagrant breach of international obligation on our part justify reprisals against us, or worse than that, probably eventuate in a war with those countries who would thus be unlawfully and unfairly prejudiced by our act?

These countries who would have us place an embargo on arms and munitions with an eye solely to their advantage might well favor an act on our part which would plunge us into war with their enemies and thus make us their own ally. From the standpoint of their own material advantage, and Pg 396 owing this country no duty whatever, it is easy to understand the motive back of their wishes.

But what motive, I ask, prompts you or any other American citizen who, owing a duty only to this country, should have in mind at all times primarily the welfare of his own country, to aid and promote a foreign propaganda, which has for its object and end the plunging of this country into war with one side or the other.

I say I acquit you of any base motive and can only believe that your utterances and your actions are the result of a want of information and understanding and not a willful desire on your part to injure the country which you are bound to support.

You could not be either misguided or mistaken, however, if you had not blindly accepted as true the statement of facts and the statement of international law as promulgated by a foreign government and its emissaries rather than the statements of fact and the statements of law promulgated by your own government. What right have you to doubt the utterances of our President, who is serving this country with that singleness of purpose which has always distinguished the acts of our presidents?

What right have you to believe the utterances of emissaries, who have been sent from abroad with a singleness of purpose to serve their own government at whatever cost to ours by sowing discord and falsehood among our people and who are trespassing upon our forbearance and are violating obligations which we believe a visitor to our shores owes to our people?

To put it in another way, may I not ask you, as a citizen, what reason or right you have to believe or expect that a foreign country and its emissaries are safe advisers for the citizens of the United States to consult or follow? And may I not also ask you, what there is in the life of President Wilson as a man and his record as a president that warrants you or any American citizen or newspaper in believing or asserting that he is not a man to believe or a safe president and counselor to follow? These questions answer themselves.

This country is now confronted with a crisis. Notwithstanding the wave of popular indignation that has been Pg 397 aroused in this country, the President is straining every nerve to preserve peace and still maintain the honor and dignity of this country. You, and others that have been uttering the same charges that you have, have made the task more difficult than it otherwise would be. There appears to be a feeling in some foreign countries that our country is divided.

A short while ago, a prominent citizen of a foreign country, whose utterances are recognized as semi-official, stated in substance that, while his country was a unit, that that was more than could be said of the United States in all cases.

In the Milwaukee Journal of Wednesday, May 12th, a translated article from the Frankfurter Zeitung was quoted as stating “that because of the fact that we have naturalized German citizens and a number of natural-born Americans of German descent that a war between this country and Germany would be impossible because of the necessity of placing these citizens in the detention camp and that it would require our entire army to watch over them.”

These statements can only mean that the belief is entertained in that country that, in case of certain eventualities, this country would be divided and that certain of our citizens would side with Germany against our government. Such a belief if indeed prevalent in that country is a serious obstacle to a peaceful termination of our negotiations in the present crisis.

But to those of us who have read the history of the Revolutionary War, of the rebellion, and of every other war in which we have been engaged as a nation—those of us who love and admire our German friends and neighbors, who are familiar with their spirit of American citizenship and patriotism, who have lived amongst them and have felt and feel one with them, know that these statements are unfounded and we resent them as a base calumny upon some of our most respected citizens. It is an insult to American citizenship. It in effect amounts to a charge of disloyalty and treason against some of our best citizens. Such a statement should be publicly resented, however, first of all by those against whom this slander is directed, not because their loyalty and patriotism is doubted here, but because it is doubted elsewhere. It is necessary for the world to understand and know Pg 398 that America is united as one man. This will do more to keep us out of war than all the clamor and all the pressure that can be brought to bear upon our President to abandon our neutrality and to violate our international obligations.

Permit me to say that in a time like this it is your duty and the duty of every citizen of the United States to stand loyally and patriotically back of our government. Not only as a matter of law is it your duty but from a natural sense of obligation as a citizen of a great nation, whose benefits and blessings you enjoy, and whose existence you are at all hazards bound to preserve. We are fortunate indeed that we have a president like Woodrow Wilson at the head of our affairs at this time. A man less capable, less patriotic, less intelligent, less courageous might have precipitated us in the war before this. He is now standing four square to all the winds that blow, in an endeavor to preserve peace with honor, dignity, and safety to ourselves. Let all of us unite to do all we can to keep firm and [word illegible] any extreme and ill-considered speech.

In times like these, permit me to say that we should not only feel but act together. This is no time for petty partisanship or petty politics. This is a time for deliberation and moderation in thought, word, and deed. It is a time for the submersion of all our differences, sympathies, and feelings in a unity of purpose and desire for our country’s good.

In conclusion, permit me to say that all of us who may trace our ancestry across the sea no matter to what particular country, should be the first to speak out loudly and clearly that our undivided loyalty and allegiance is with America, always, no matter what may be our tie.

Yours very truly,
Paul O. Husting.

Washington, D. C., Apr. 1, 1916.

Rev. —— ——,

————, Wis.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of some time ago, expressing the disapproval of the pastors of the Lutheran Conference of the Iowa Synod held in Beaver Dam, in January, of my attitude on the embargo on munitions question was duly received. The letter Pg 399 appeared in the Milwaukee papers on the Saturday before and therefore its contents were familiar to me before receiving the same by mail. The reason that this letter was not answered was because it seemed to me that it called for no reply but that it was merely intended to give public expression to your disapproval by your Conference of my attitude and vote on these questions.

Now in reply to yours of the 20th inst. and also to that above referred to let me first say that I regret very much that any act or attitude of mine as Senator from Wisconsin should meet with the disapproval of any number of my fellow citizens. I am not insensible of the support that I received from many citizens of German extraction in the last campaign nor do I think that there is anybody representing the state of Wisconsin who is more anxious to please and to retain the confidence, respect, and good will of his fellow citizens of German extraction or ancestry, for that matter, than I am, provided that I can do so without acting inconsistently with my oath of office or my sense of duty.

In justification of my attitude let me say then that my vote and my attitude on our foreign relations are the result of deep-seated convictions based upon study and a great deal of thought upon this subject and I am maintaining such attitude and convictions upon the subject (notwithstanding that some of my fellow citizens disagree with me) because I am convinced that if I did otherwise I would be committing my country to a wrong and dangerous policy—a policy which not only might, but which probably would, force us into war and this is a result which I understand neither you nor any other citizen desires, if it can honorably be avoided. Holding such convictions (at least honestly formed) I feel that would be violating my oath of office and my duty as a Senator if I voted contrary to my convictions in order to please you or others. This I manifestly cannot and of course will not do. I consider it my first duty as a Senator and as a citizen to support and sustain my government in a crisis like this.

The criticism expressed in your letter is confined to two matters only, namely: First—My attitude on the embargo question. Second—My vote on the Gore Resolution. And you tell me that my attitude on the one and my vote on the Pg 400 other is not in accordance with the wishes or sentiments of the people of Wisconsin.

The substance of your criticism is contained in the sentence which I quote from your letter: “We therefore have a perfect right to expect that those men, whom we sent to represent our interests, whom we sent to represent us before the President we have elected, should vote as we would vote, if we had an opportunity to cast our vote. We know full well that you are not an instructed delegate, this being impossible, and yet you ought to vote as you know that your constituents require you to vote.”

Now let me ask you upon what you base your assertion that I am not voting the way the majority of my constituents “require” me to vote? The people of the state of Wisconsin have never yet recorded or had an opportunity to record their sentiment or opinions on these questions, and consequently I have no means at my command that will enable me to inform myself as to how my constituents would “require” me to vote. I believe that you will admit that you have no means of ascertaining or knowing how the people of Wisconsin would “require” me to vote and that you are merely assuming that all the people of Wisconsin feel as you and your associates do upon these matters. I believe furthermore that you will admit that sympathizing with Germany as you do that you are not an impartial and unbiased judge of the facts involved in the issue. I am sure that there are thousands of others in this state who believe and claim that the people of Wisconsin are overwhelmingly supporting President Wilson’s attitude on both of these questions. Of course these expressions of opinion come from many who also are not impartial and unprejudiced or unbiased in the premises although I may add that I have received scores and scores of letters from men of German ancestry who hold a like opinion to mine. With such conflicting opinions as is perfectly natural to be the case in a state of mixed population like Wisconsin even you must admit that the sentiment of the people of our state is by no means unanimous on the subject matter. At the beginning of and so long as our country was not in danger of being drawn into this terrible war, I also indulged myself in sympathizing with a certain side in this world’s struggle. But for Pg 401 over a year this country has stood and now stands on the very verge of a volcano and no one could, nor now can, know when we will be drawn into its crater. Consequently, ever since this danger has arisen, I have tried to dismiss from mind all interest in connection with the war except in so far as it affects or might affect the interests or rights of our people and our country and I harbor no motive in my consciousness in connection with my office other than to protect and promote our own country’s rights and interests. With such motive and such thought, I feel that I ought to be able to vote upon this European situation fairly and impartially as between the belligerents. I am at least conscious of this: That whatever attitude I take and whatever vote I cast is cast with reference solely to its effect on this country and regardless of its effect upon the welfare of any other country in the world.

Now under such circumstances do you think that I should allow your sympathies or the sympathies of your associates or my sympathies to outweigh and overcome my settled convictions, and that I should violate my oath of office as United States Senator and act and vote in direct contradiction to what I conceive to be my duty as a Senator and as a citizen of the United States? I cannot think that you would have me do so. I cannot in a letter repeat my reasons, which I have so often stated in public speeches and interviews, why I am opposed to our government placing an embargo on munitions of war and, consequently, I must refer you to such speeches and interviews for such information. I can only state that such action on the part of our country would in my judgment be a gross breach of neutrality which not only might, but probably would, involve us in a war with those foreign countries adversely affected by such action on our part. I voted against the Gore Resolution because I am opposed, by governmental action, to curtailing or abandoning the rights of our citizens upon the high seas or wherever they have a right to be, as an act unworthy of a great nation and of a great people, and, furthermore, because I am sure that with the passage of such a resolution our troubles in that respect would not have been ended but would have only just begun. With the abandonment of one right, we would soon Pg 402 have been called upon to abandon another and still another, and, having said “A,” we would not only have had to say “B” but we would have had to continue clear down the alphabet to “Z,” and we would finally find ourselves bereft of all rights cravenly and uselessly abandoned by us to wrong-doing countries. Personally, I would not now travel on the high seas unless I was obliged thus to travel and I would not ask or in fact advise any friend of mine to travel upon the high seas under present conditions, but what I am opposed to is that our government by affirmative action should warn our citizens not to travel upon the high seas and in effect then to license the world to kill and slaughter our citizens in the act of exercising their God-given and lawful rights so to do. Such authoritative action would be a puerile abandonment of the rights of our citizens and of our country and a cowardly withdrawal of the protection which our flag owes to our people and would not only invite the contempt and aggression of the belligerent nations but would bring us into contempt in the eyes of our own citizens themselves.

Now, in the sentence quoted, you characterized me as one of those “* * * whom we sent to represent our interests * * * .” Now let me ask you whether you or your associates have any interest which I am representing other or different in any degree from that of any other citizen of Wisconsin? You surely can have no interest, which I represent, in the success of any foreign nation in this war. You may have wishes or hopes in regard to the outcome of the war in Europe but as an American citizen you certainly have no interest in the result. The interests of our country, your interests, my interests, are identical and are limited to this: That we keep our hands off and let the warring nations fight it out according to the rules of international law and, if we can, protect the lives of our people and maintain their rights and the rights of our country and preserve our national honor. While it is not my duty to represent your wishes (which may stand in direct contravention to the dictates of our own national welfare), it is my duty to represent (and it is my conviction that I am performing that duty and am properly representing) the interests of the country, your interests, my interests, and the interests of all the people of the United Pg 403 States, when I take the attitude I am taking and vote as I have voted.

Now while I have grown up among people of German ancestry and have grown to love and respect my German-American neighbors, among whom I count you and many others of your cloth, I cannot and will not forget that as Senator I represent all of the people of Wisconsin regardless of ancestry or accident of birth and as such Senator I represent not only the people of Wisconsin but the people of the United States as a whole, and I want to say further that as long as I remain in the Senate I shall count the interests of my country first, wholly without regard to its effect upon my political fortunes or upon the fortunes of any foreign country.

While I have no authority to talk for anyone but myself, I believe that President Wilson is actuated by the same motives as I am. Can any man doubt that the President of the United States is doing what he does and acting as he acts with any thought in his mind other than the welfare of his country and of our people? Now you say in your letter, “I admit that we have not the insight into the inner affairs and for that reason leave it to the discretion of our representatives to cast their vote to the best welfare of the State”; and further you say in substance that you have taken a vital interest in this matter and that the consensus of opinion of your associates, the majority of whom are university men, is that an embargo should be placed upon munitions of war. Now you admit that your opinion is based upon imperfect, incomplete, unreliable, and (what at times must be) false information. You also inferentially admit, as you must admit (indeed as everybody knows is the fact) that the President and his Cabinet are in possession of the most perfect, the most complete, most reliable and most trustworthy information obtainable. Moreover, the President is also a university man (if that has anything to do with it) and is he not also a citizen of the United States who loves his country? Is he not a man of intellect, of integrity, of patriotism, of ability, of courage, a man possessing all those attributes that go to make up our idea of a good American citizen? As President, in the handling of domestic affairs, has he not shown himself Pg 404 mindful of the welfare of the masses of the people? In this world’s crisis has he not kept us out of war during the most trying times—under the gravest difficulties—when there was not a Congress in session and when there were no warning resolutions; when newspapers, politicians, partisans, and sympathizers were trying to provoke him into the most drastic action against one or the other side of this controversy? And this at a time when scores of incidents have occurred, each one alone of sufficient importance to have provoked us into war against one side or the other side of the belligerents, had the President been so minded. When you and I and all of us during the summer of 1915 were pursuing our peaceful occupations in Wisconsin, the President was left alone to carry a load that would have staggered and borne down any ordinary man! During all this time, in waking or in sleeping, has he had anything in his mind but the peaceful solution of his monumental task without dishonor to our country?

And now let me ask whether you ought not to admit that it is a little presumptuous on your part to think or claim that you are more patriotic, more desirous of doing, and better able to do justice between the belligerents of Europe—more desirous and better able to safeguard and protect the national honor and the welfare and rights of our people than our president, Woodrow Wilson? In other words, are you not willing to concede that, under all the facts and circumstances surrounding this vital matter, Woodrow Wilson ought to be better qualified in all respects to properly pass upon these questions and to protect our rights than anyone else who neither has the responsibility or the opportunity nor has devoted the thought and time to this matter, that he has?

Now would you and your associates, with all due respect to your learning and information, which at best (as you admit is, and which necessarily can be, based only on imperfect and uncertain premises) have me accept your judgment in this matter in preference to that of the President of the United States? Not only that, but would you have me under such circumstances disregard the judgment of the President and his Cabinet who are lawfully invested with the authority and business of determining these questions Pg 405 which as a matter of law is and as a matter of common sense ought to be final and binding upon the people of the United States and with this also abandon my own judgment and accept yours in lieu thereof? If each citizen of the United States would set his judgment and opinion above that of the President of the United States in our foreign affairs and refuse to abide by his conclusions in time of acute crises such as these, could anything but national chaos be the result? In domestic affairs that do not concern the life of the country we all have a right to insist upon our opinions and, even then, we must bow when overruled by the majority. Then how much more in foreign affairs must we lodge somewhere authority for determining matters affecting our national life itself. And where else shall we lodge them than in the hands of our President and Secretary of State, at least until all diplomatic means shall have been exhausted? Now I do not say that citizens have no right to express their opinions even on foreign affairs; but what I do say is that they ought not to so exercise that right and so conduct themselves as to embarrass and hinder our government in its diplomatic negotiations with foreign countries at times like these, and thus imperil, if not absolutely prevent, a peaceful solution of our difficulties, great enough in themselves, but made still greater by the utterances of some papers and persons which give color and basis for the claim and impression abroad that we are a disunited and demoralized people, a people who have lost their faith and confidence in their own government, and who will not give it their loyal and undivided support in all eventualities. We can maintain peace best by presenting a solid front to all nations to the end that they may know and understand that we are one and indivisible no matter what may come!

Now you further say: “As to the notion that under all circumstances the opinions of the President must be upheld, in order to be loyal Americans, that is pure and simple 'rot.’” Let me say to you that supporting the President under present circumstances is not “rot” unless loyalty to one’s country is also “rot”! Upholding the President under present circumstances does not mean the upholding of an individual in his opinion or judgment. For a Senator or a citizen of Pg 406 the United States to back the President and to accept his conclusions based upon known facts in foreign matters of gravest importance at a time of the nation’s peril like this is not a servile following of an individual and is not “rot.” On the contrary such backing and such acceptance is only supporting and maintaining one’s government. It is evidence of loyalty to one’s country. Such action and such acceptance is not merely supporting President Wilson as a man, it is supporting the United States—our government—our country, which the President for the time being represents and for which he is authorized to act and must act.

I quote further from your letter: “Our slogan is 'America first, last, and all the time, regardless of party lines, President, or representatives.’” Our President for the time being within certain limitations is America and he acts for America. And in my judgment it is the first duty not only of Senators but of citizens who are for America first, last, and all the time, to be for our government first, last, and all the time that for the time being is our government. No citizen can be against our government and still at the same time justly claim that he is for America. One cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.

Now there is another matter in relation to the Beaver Dam letter of Jan. 27 which was a communication entitled from the “pastors of the German Lutheran Church in Conference at Beaver Dam, Wis., Assembled.” It appears from this letter that you have assumed to put your church on record as opposed to the foreign policy of this government at a time when it was essential that the government should have the united support of its citizens and to make public your disapproval in your pastoral capacity, evidently for the purpose of bringing the President and the representative of your state into political disfavor with your church.

Now what I have to say in this connection is said in all friendliness to the members of the Conference, many of whom I personally know and respect. I acknowledge the right of any man, no matter what his profession or calling may be, to speak his mind freely on political matters and to vote as he pleases at elections and consequently every pastor has a right to express his own personal opinions on any subject that he Pg 407 may desire to speak upon and, furthermore, he has a right to express his own opinion without in any way injecting religion into politics so long as he merely expresses his own personal opinion and does not attempt to talk for his church or for the purpose, as pastor, of influencing the people of his church. I wish, however, to express my opinion that no matter what the merit or excellence of their motives or principles that may underlie such organizations or their actions, it will be an unhappy and unfortunate thing for the country and for the church when churches will be used as political organizations or utilities and when its pastors will become the heads of such organizations.

This country is and has been the refuge and the shield of all men who desire to worship God as they please. This is a country of freedom of religion as well as freedom of thought. We have been endeavoring for more than a century to keep our government and our politics divorced from religion. We have been endeavoring to permit these to run along parallel lines but at the same time to keep them separated and prevent them from impinging one upon the other. The separation of Church and State has been one of the keynotes in our arch and has thus far done much to strengthen and sustain our national structure. But in the last few years there has been a growing tendency to inject religion into politics. I have always steadfastly and consistently discouraged and criticized such tendency wherever I could. I consider it a most dangerous tendency—a tendency which bodes no good either to the nation or to the church. It is bad indeed to inject the Church into Politics. It is as bad or worse to inject Politics into the Church. If you inject the Church into Politics you will brush aside the traditions of our country since its existence and you will be laying the axe to the very roots of our government. And if you inject Politics into the Church you will also be laying the axe to the very roots of your religion. You cannot have politics in your church without having factions in your church and when you have factions in your church you will divide your church, which history shows has ever been the case when governments and churches mixed. Our Revolutionary fathers wisely profited by the experience of other nations and Pg 408 by the teachings of history when they provided that the State and Church should be forever kept separate. All good citizens will deplore anything that endangers our country; and all good people, regardless of religion, will deplore anything that will injure the Church—an institution [which] when properly separated from the government exercises an infinite influence for good in this country. For these reasons I hereby respectfully record my deep regret at the action of the Beaver Dam Conference because I fear that you may be setting an unwise precedent fraught with consequences of a dangerous character both to the Church and to the State in thus, as pastors, using the influence of your church in the manner attempted.

One thing to me seems certain; if we desire to continue the freedom of religion in our country, it can only be done by keeping it free from politics and if we are going to have freedom of politics it can only be done by keeping it free from religious interference. The one proposition is interdependent upon the other and the rule cannot be violated without lasting injury and damage to both Church and State. I trust that the great Lutheran Church and all of the other great churches of the country will never put themselves into the attitude of attempting to control the politics of the country. I most fervently hope that religious and racial influence and prejudices may never be permitted by any church or body of men to promote or prevent the election of any man to public office or to dictate to or to influence our government in its relations or negotiations with foreign nations.

Let me conclude by saying that in all of these troublous times we should remember that we are at peace—that we have been kept out of this war thus far by a president and an administration which have dedicated their efforts to promote the public welfare—that they are doing the very best they can to continue to keep us out of war if this can be done without loss of national honor or without surrendering or abandoning our national rights or the rights of our citizens. In this effort, the government should be sustained by all good citizens, regardless of race or religion. It is the duty of every citizen to sustain it! This is the country in which all our interests are centered—the only country to which we Pg 409 owe any loyalty or allegiance—the country which safeguards and protects us—the country which we in return are bound to protect and defend always. It is easy, of course, to be a good citizen in fair weather but it is in foul weather that the best citizenship is needed. It is in the storm and stress of national peril that loyalty and devotion to the public welfare is put to the acid test. Let us lay aside all of our differences, all of our sympathies, all of our prejudices, so far as they relate to other countries, and let us think and speak and act solely with regard to the good of our own country.

Very respectfully,
Paul O. Husting.

May 19, 1917.

Mr. —— ——,
————, Wisconsin.

My dear Sir:

Yours of May 16th was duly received and contents noted. In reply I want to say that your letter bears evidence of conscientious thought and your conclusions are, no doubt, honest. I assume you have written me not only for the purpose of giving your own views but also are inviting mine in return. And inasmuch as you have volunteered a doubt as to whether or not your German ancestry has colored or biased your judgment in the premises, I take the liberty of giving you my judgment on that point as I gather it from the context of this and your previous letter.

I believe your reasonings and your conclusions are from the German, not the American, standpoint. In other words, you are holding a brief for Germany and not for the United States. “How important a part” your “German ancestry plays” in this, it may be difficult for you to apprehend but your bias will readily be apparent to anyone who reads your letter. Now, you are an American-born citizen, I take it. You are an attorney-at-law and a member of the bar of Wisconsin. You owe a duty to your country which sympathy for Germany, no matter how genuine it may be, cannot diminish, much less nullify. Now the premises from which you as an American must reason are these: This country is at war with Germany. Your President, my President, our President, backed by a declaration of your Congress, my Pg 410 Congress, our Congress, has proclaimed that war exists. This was done for reasons which appeared sufficient to the President and the Congress to make this declaration imperative. The loyalty and the fidelity of the President and of Congress to the people of the nation has never been questioned or challenged and I do not understand you to challenge or question them now. You are merely attempting in your letter to set your judgment against theirs. Germany is now an enemy of the United States which means that she is your enemy, my enemy, our enemy. Now, it is plain, as the Vice President remarked in a speech some time ago, that we cannot have a hundred million presidents or secretaries of state, meaning, of course, that we can only have one of each at a time and that when these officers, to whom this power has been delegated, have, with the aid of Congress, committed this government to a war, that question to all intents and purposes of the war is settled for all men who are citizens of the United States. And when the status of our relations with a foreign country is once fixed as that of war, then the time for argument has ceased and there is no longer any room for controversy between citizens upon that question. The question then, for the time being, that is to say, during the pendency of the war, is a closed and not an open one. And for the sake of your peace of mind as well as in justice to yourself as an American citizen who does not desire his loyalty questioned or to have his honorable reputation permanently impaired, you should respect, obey, and support the mandate of your country in the spirit of true and devoted American citizenship.

Now, I assume you love this country and that you love it because it is a free country and that you are here practicing your profession because of your desire to live in and to practice law in a country where fullest and freest opportunity is afforded you to work out your own destiny in your own way. In short, I assume that you favor a republican form of government and that you are devoted to America and its free institutions. I am sure that you would not have anyone believe otherwise of you because that would impute to you disloyalty and moreover it would impute to you a lack of intelligent enterprise by your remaining in a country that according to Pg 411 your ideas is improperly governed instead of removing yourself to the jurisdiction of another country which more nearly squares with your ideas of good government. So, I repeat that I assume that you are here because you like to be here under a government that suits you and which you love better than any other government on earth. Now, it is evident in your letter that you love and sympathize with Germany but the question arises in my mind whether your love is for the German people or for the German government. You can easily put yourself to the test. If you love the German people then you must desire them to have as good a government as you enjoy here and it ought to make you happy that your country, if it prevails in this war, will make the German people as free and as happy as you are. If, on the other hand, you are mostly concerned in the success of the German government, that is to say, if you are mostly concerned in having the present Hohenzollern dynasty remain in power, then it would seem to be quite clear that your love is not for the German people but for the Hohenzollern dynasty and the German autocracy. In other words, your love would then be of the form and not of the substance. You cannot love this country and its institutions and at the same time love the German autocracy. These are incompatible and repugnant one to the other. They cannot both exist in the same heart at the same time. Your love for the German people, as is your love of mankind generally, is entirely compatible with your love of this country but it must be clear to you, as it must be perfectly clear to every American, that you cannot love your country and the German people and mankind generally and at the same time love the fearful German autocracy which is trying to impose or impress its system, its frightfulness, and its wish and will upon the world and which in its mad lust for power silences the promptings of conscience, scoffs at the weakness of love for human-kind, deafens its ears to the dictates of humanity, and which in pursuit of its fell purpose sets at naught all law human and divine. Now let me ask you to search your heart and see whether your love for the German fatherland is a love compatible with your duties as an American citizen—whether it is compatible with your love of liberty and humanity—whether it is compatible Pg 412 with the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are entitled to the right of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”! If such love is compatible with all these then your love for the German fatherland is a virtue and not a vice. But, if searching deeply into your heart you find that your love of the fatherland means that you love the relentless, ruthless, and despotic Hohenzollern dynasty and its system, pluck it out as you would a cancer, for it is a thing of evil and you cannot love it and be a good and true American.

You write “The President’s statement to the effect that the War is not directed against the German people never appealed to me.” For the reasons I have just given it should appeal to you as an American and as a lover of liberty and it should appeal to the German people themselves and their sympathizers in this country. It should appeal to lovers of liberty the world over—this statement that we are warring on a Power and not a People. We are warring on the Power because it has set its hand and might against the world and setting aside all laws of God and man it has outlawed itself and has no right to live. But in destroying this Power there is no intent, or disposition, or wish to destroy the People. The President’s statement means, as I interpret it, that the one thing that stands between peace and war with Germany is the Hohenzollern dynasty. Once let that obstacle be removed either by the German people themselves or by the arbitrament of arms and our troubles and differences with Germany are over. Now can an American citizen of German extraction who puts the welfare and happiness of the people of Germany ahead of that of the Kaiser or, in other words, ahead of the Hohenzollern dynasty and the autocratic system which that dynasty embodies and typifies, enlist himself, his sympathies, his resources, his life, in a higher and holier cause than to join in emancipating the German people from the thrall of the Hohenzollern dynasty and to save the German people whom he professes to love from a doom which an outraged world has pronounced and sealed against the ruthless and frightful Hohenzollern system? Now and here is the opportunity for all who love the German people to give proof of it. Let them all get back of the President and of Pg 413 their government and to the extent of their influence, ability, might, and power help to bring to their brothers in blood across the sea that priceless boon of liberty and independence which they or their ancestors sailed the perilous seas to find here in America. Let them make sacrifice and help and fight to give to their friends and kinsmen across the ocean that which was given to most of them here without cost or sacrifice on their part.

It is quite apparent to almost everyone that there can be no peace—no permanent peace—in the world so long as one power seeks to impose its autocratic straight jacket upon the world. Since the birth of the American Republic, the world has been marching away from autocracy and toward universal democracy, gathering irresistible momentum with the advance of time. All rulers, all statesmen, all men recognize this fact.

Even in countries autocratically ruled greater liberties and rights have been accorded the common people and it is only a question of time when the doctrine of the divinity of kings will become a tradition and the world will become one vast democracy. I repeat that the world is turning with irresistible momentum to a world democracy and the rulers of the world recognize that the logic of events is bound to substitute governments “of, by and for the people” in place of “of, by and for” kaisers, czars, and kings. There is practically one autocracy in the world which still has the power and efficiency to make that power felt in its attempt, its will and purpose upon the world; but one power on earth that today constitutes a menace and obstruction to the onward tread of democracy and that power is Germany! It is the Hohenzollern dynasty which is illogically, in indifference and contempt of the world’s sentiment, ignoring the teachings of history, unheeding the warnings of history with that fatuousness which always blinds the eyes of those who look only for their self-aggrandizement, that is trying to turn the world backward. It is the Hohenzollern dynasty that has thrown itself in the path of the onward march of liberty and progress, trying not only to stem the irresistible physical and spiritual forces of the world but actually trying to rout and drive them back into the dark ages of despotism. Pg 414 It must be obvious to every thinking man that this attempt will fail. No man or set of men in this day or age will be permitted to rule the world. Every ruler, every dynasty which unyieldingly places itself in the pathway of liberty and progress will be overthrown; every people, no matter how powerful or great, which blindly and absolutely places itself behind, follows, and clings to such ruler and dynasty, will inevitably sooner or later be crushed and utterly destroyed with it. And so the German autocracy which today menaces the world and obstructs its progress will be overthrown and the German people if they continue blindly and absolutely to cling to their dynasty will inevitably share the same fate. Whether Germany prevails in this war or not, there will be and can be no lasting peace until the inevitable end is reached. So that in the end, be it sooner or later, democracy will be established and autocracy will perish. The destruction of the autocratic Hohenzollern dynasty would be a blessing to the world. The destruction of the German people would be a calamity to the world. I do not believe that the German people are going to commit national suicide. I do not believe that they are long going to continue to sacrifice the substance for the form. I do not believe that they will deem it wise to suffer a national death in order to uphold the life of a government that is based on error, not on truth, which the world tried and found wanting, and which is responsible for the catastrophe which has befallen themselves and the world at large. It is unthinkable—it is unbelievable—that the German people are unaffected by the onward movement of democracy and that they alone will continue to hug the despotism and the system that is unsuited to the requirements and unworthy of a modern civilization. Wherefore, it would seem clear to me that all citizens of German extraction would be quick to realize and appreciate the force of the President’s declaration that we are not warring against the German people but against the German autocracy and would enthusiastically support their own government in a purpose which means freedom to the German people, and in thus giving their whole hearted support to their own government they would be discharging their duty, they would be true to their allegiance as American citizens, Pg 415 and at the same time they would be furthering the best interests of the German people and aiding them in the only way in which they properly can.

I have received a number of letters of the same purport as yours and I am going to publish my letter to you so that it may serve as an answer likewise to others who are minded as you are. I know that there are in our midst a number of serious, well-meaning men who hold the ideas and sentiments which you have expressed—sentiments which, it is perfectly clear, are incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of American citizenship in a crisis like this as well as incompatible with the intelligence and the character of the men entertaining them. In the various public speeches I have made and communications I have published during this crisis, I have sought to speak only in the furtherance of what I understand and conceive to be the truth of the matter and the welfare of our country. I have been animated solely by a purpose to dispel error and to promote the interests of our country and not by the slightest ill-feeling or malice toward any man. I have sought to express myself frankly and without reserve but, at the same time, I hope fairly, courteously, and without malice or feeling. Having lived amongst Americ