POLITICS FROM 1880 TO 1911.
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY has in many respects an unusual political history. At numerous elections parties in the minority made no fight at all — did not try to make a losing fight for the sake of prestige or principle. In several instances cities and the county as a whole made spectacular changes from one party to another. Neither the Grangers, Greenbackers, Prohibitionists, Social Democrats, Laborites, Free Silver Advocates nor any other cause or faction have cut much of a figure at elections, though they have caused much worry to both of the old parties .
In April, 1880, the Democrats elected their full municipal ticket except one supervisor and one justice of the peace. The republicans did their best to win success, but were unequal to the task. The number of votes cast was 1,247. For mayor, H. Pierce (D.) received 660, B. T. Rogers (R.) 641, and X. Earle (Ind.) 45, Albert Kreiss (D.) was elected city clerk over H. A. Shipman (R.), F. A. Earling (Ind.) and others. Joseph Koffend (D.) was elected treasurer over H. Bissong (R.). H. C. Sloan (D.) was elected attorney over W. J . Allen (R.). The new officers were Humphrey Pierce (D.) mayor; Albert Kreiss (D.) clerk, Joseph Koffend (D.) treasurer, H. C. Sloan (D.) attorney, S. D. Walsh (D.) street commissioner, George Schuldes (D.) assessor, James Golden (D.) marshal. In his inaugural the new mayor noted that the city had a cash balance of nearly $19,000, which was not the result of increased taxation nor the neglect of public improvements. The whole city was prosperous .
The greenbackers nominated the following ticket in 1880: P. Mulroy, sheriff; B: C. Wolter, county clerk; J. Wunderlich, treasurer; L. Jacquot, court clerk; G. W. Foster, attorney; E. Spencer, surveyor; G. H. Marston, coroner. The democratic county ticket in the fall of 1880 was as follows: Patrick Lennon, sheriff; George T. Moeskes, clerk of the court; William Kennedy, district attorney; B. C. Wolter, county clerk; Mathias Werner, treasurer; Elihu Spencer, surveyor; George H. Marston, coroner. Gabe Bosick was the democratic candidate for congress and Harry C. Sloan for the assembly, first district .
For Congress — Gabriel Bouck (D.) 3,114, Richard Guenther (R.) 2,262, L. A. Stewart (G.) 269. H. C. Sloan (D.) was elected to the assembly in the first district and James McMurdo (R.) in the second district. The republicans did not nominate a general county ticket; they named P. Brill for sheriff and he received 2,600 votes to 2,763 for Lennon (D.) .
After the election in November, 1880, the republicans held one of the largest and best political celebrations ever conducted in this county. There were present two brass and two military bands and an immense procession with banners, transparencies and mottoes. Many buildings were illuminated and decorated. All finally enjoyed a supper, speeches and music at the basket factory. There were over 500 torches in the procession, fire works were let off by the procession while in motion. The republicans were particularly overjoyed at the election for congress of R. K. Guenther over Bouck .
In the spring of 1881 the parties put tickets in the field, but there was much scratching. The vote was as follows: For mayor — Humphrey Pierce (D.) 812, J. H. Marston (R.) 710. For city clerk — Gochnauer (R.) had a majority of 328 over Kreiss (D.). Treasurer Koffeud had no opposition. For attorney — Boyd (D.) had a, majority of 311 over Tenney (R.). For assessor — Heath (R.) had a majority of 47 over McGillan. Harriman was elected county judge over Flanagan and Goodland. On the question of Union schools there was a majority of 305 against them .
In the fall of 1881 the Prohibitionists nominated for governor Theodore D. Kanouse of Outagamie county, and S. P. Ming for the assembly. There was not much interest and no excitement. For senator J. L. Pingle (D.) received 1,359; B. T. Rogers (R.) 1,503; L. Perrot (Gbk.) 324. For the assembly (1) — H. Pierce (D.) 1,014, S. P. Ming (R.) 3,246, John Driscoll (Ind.) 60. For the assembly (2) — A. H. Pape 715, L. B. Mills 649, N. Day 213. For governor — Rusk (R.) 995, Fratt (D.) 1,753; Kanouse (Pro.) 250, Edward P. Allis 303. For register of deeds — Julius Zuehlke (D.) 2,785, J. M. Baer (R.) 283. For county superintendent — J. A. Leith (D.) 1,442, L. D. Steffen (R.) 677, A. Aspinwall (Ind.) 148 .
In the spring of 1882 about 200 citizens signed a paper requesting J. H. Marston to become a candidate for mayor. He accepted the invitation. The whole number of votes cast for mayor was 1,223: J. H. Marston received 1,185, scattering 38. M. K. Gochnauer was elected clerk, receiving 1,241 of the 1,243 votes polled. Joseph Koffend was elected treasurer receiving 1,228 of the 1,236 votes cast. Samuel Boyd received 1,227 of the 1,235 votes polled for attorney. William Johnston received 1,236 of the 1,238 votes polled for assessor. This election was decidedly non-partisan. Neither party fought from a party standpoint, but all accepted good men with clean records and efficiency back of them. It was a charter election and a surprise to all. For the first time there was but one general city ticket. Republicans and democrats united on mayor, city clerk and treasurer. The citizens and republican nominees for assessor and attorney withdrew in favor of the democratic nominees. The questions at issue were continued improvement, but the tax should not exceed 2 1/2 per cent. The stock fair ground purchase was condemned by many. Under the new charter Fred Hoefer was appointed marshal, John F. Rose, street commissioner, and Dr. J. R. Reilley, city physician. Liquor licenses were $125. The police were required to wear navy blue uniforms .
In the fall campaign of 1882 the prohibitionists issued a party paper, distributing gratis 2,000 copies. The democrats and greenbackers nominated full party tickets. The republicans made no effort. Three democratic candidates (Campion, Pape and Lennon) were elected. The vote in this county for congressman was as follows: Guenther (R.) 1,261, Hahen (D.) 2,261, Kanouse (Pro.) 575, Stewart (Gbk.) 240. B. C. Walter (Ind. R.) was elected county clerk over D. C. Babcock (D.). Golden (D.) defeated McMurdo (R.) for sheriff by a large majority. The same result for treasurer — Werner (D.) over Steffen. For attorney — Kennedy (D.) won over Eastman (R.) and Baird (Gbk.). Same of county clerk — Moeskes (D.) won over Jacquot (Pro.) For coroner Roemer (D).) won over R. Johnston (R.) .
The municipal election in April, 1883, was very quiet and uneventful. The Post said: “It has come to be a pretty well established custom here (and on account of which there is no reason to express regret) not to allow political considerations to enter very largely into our municipal affairs. We believe this course is likely to secure better local governments. In obedience to this custom the republicans made no nomination for the mayoralty against Mayor Richmond, he therefore received the full vote. The candidate for city clerk were both republicans. The result was favorable to Mr. Gochnauer, he having made an acceptable officer for the past two years. For the treasuryship there was a spirited contest. Both candidates were excellent men, but owing to the general feeling that Mr. Koffend had held the office long enough, Mr. Rose was elected by a handsome majority. Samuel Boyd and Mr. Schuldes were elected attorney and assessor by complementary majorities. The result as to the supervisors is quite satisfactory to the people.”
For the first time in the history of Appleton there was but one general ticket in the field in April, 1884, and it was supported by both parties. The democrats met and renominated the old officers and the republicans endorsed this action. The new officers were: G. N. Richmond, mayor; M. K. Gochnauer, clerk; J. F. Rose, treasurer; Samuel Boyd, attorney; A. B. Randall, assessor. There were contests in the wards .
A Blaine and Logan club was organized at Kaukauna in July, 1884, after the citizens had listened to a strong speech from Richard Guenther (R.). Col. H. A. Frambach was president and Dr. H. B. Tanner secretary; over 100 joined this club .
The democrats of Appleton held a rousing ratification meeting in August, 1884, over the nomination of Cleveland and Hendricks; General Bragg was the principal speaker and drew a large crowd .
An immense republican meeting was held at Appleton in September, 1884, on which occasion Mrs. Stansbury, in a strong and patriotic speech presented to the Blaine and Logan club a beautiful flag which had been made by a group of ladies headed by Miss Jennie Whorton and Mrs. Thomas Peakon. John Bottensek accepted the flag on behalf of the club. Col. John C. Spooner was the first speaker; he reviewed the whole political situation in a long and powerful address. He was followed by John Toohey whose pungent wit and burning eloquence was keenly appreciated. In the procession were 462 “plumed knights.” This was one of the greatest political demonstrations ever held in Appleton. John Toohey spoke later to a large assemblage at Kaukauna .
John C. Russell, of Michigan, addressed the citizens on Prohibition in September, 1884. An immense Cleveland and Hendricks demonstration occurred at Appleton in October; there were fully 1,000 persons in line. Hon.William Ebbitts of Milwaukee and Mr. Lyser (German) addressed the crowd .
.Gen. Lucius Fairchild (R.) spoke to a large audience in the opera house late in October. Col. W. H. Stowell (R.) also addressed a large number of republicans about the same time. Emil Erb was president of the Blaine and Logan club. On October 16 at a big republican rally there were nearly 3,000 lamps in line, many coming from adjacent cities. Other republican speakers were Richard Guenther and 0. H. Fethers. Among the democratic speakers were George W. Julian, A. K. Delaney, Conrad Krez, John McMullen.
“The course of abuse and misrepresentation pursued by the Daily Post for the last two months has finally in self defense, compelled the democrats and independents to demand the publication of a clean but vigorous daily — one that decent people will not be ashamed to have seen in their houses — during the remainder of the campaign.” (Crescent, October 18, 1884.)
The vote in November, 1884, was as follows: Presidential — Democratic 4,169, Republican 2,644, Prohibition 70, Greenbacker 192. Governor — Rusk (R.) 2,630, Fratt (D.) 4,182, Hastings (Pro.) 85. Congressman — Guenther (R.) 2,615, Smith (D.) 4,273. Cirkel (D.) was elected to the assembly over Leppla (R.). William Kennedy (D.) was elected senator. The entire democratic county ticket was elected by large majorities. For sheriff Hoefler (D.) received 4,816, Van Alstine (R.) 2,167; the majority on the balance of the ticket was about the same .
“It affords us pleasure to state that the election in Appleton yesterday was one of the most orderly ever held in this city.” — (Post, November 6, 1884). “Last night the city was comparatively quiet; at least there were no surging, noisy crowds clamoring for news as was the case the two previous nights.” — (Post, November 13,1884.)
“It (the Daily Crescent) sprang into existence as the malicious vilifier of reputable citizens; its career has been recklessly dishonest, dishonorable and dangerous, and in its death it is unpardonably vile and malignant.” — (Post, November 13, 1884.) “Notwithstanding the campaign had closed the Crescent in its last two issues went far out of its way and not alone assailed but inhumanly persecuted the church organizations of the city, because they did not support the measures and men which the odious conduct of the Crescent in many cases had rendered unpopular.” — (Post, same date.)
One of the largest and most uproarious political jubilees ever held here was given by the democrats after the election of November, 1884. They had reason to rejoice because they swept both country and county. They paraded the streets with bands, torches, mottoes, etc., and set off fire works. Among the speakers at the numerous halls were H. D. Ryan, Samuel Ryan, David Hammel, Leopold Hammel, William Kennedy and George Kreiss .
In April, 1885, there was little excitement over the election. G. N. Richmond had no opposition for mayor; N. E. Morgan had 148 majority for clerk; John F. Rose 93 majority for treasurer; Samuel Boyd no opposition for city attorney; William Johnston no opposition for assessor. Judge Harriman was elected county judge by 2,431 majority over Mr. Baird, Judge Myers was elected circuit judge by 718 majority over John Goodland, Colonel Frambach was elected mayor of Kaukauna, over Otto Runte and Doctor Strong was elected mayor of Seymour over Thomas Mitchell. After this election Goodland began suit for $10,000 damages for libel against H. W. Myer of the Volksfreund .
In the spring of 1886, G. N. Richmond was re-elected mayor over Doctor Rush Winslow by 224 majority; Captain Morgan was re-elected clerk by a nearly unanimous vote, 1,872 to 126; John F. Rose was elected treasurer over Henry Kriess by a majority of 651; Samuel Boyd was re-elected city attorney over Samuel Baird by 467 majority; George Schuldes was elected assessor without opposition. Considerable interest was manifested in the city election in April, 1886. An unusually large vote was polled –2,021. Party lines were wholly ignored and it was a contest in which every man was for himself. The contest was mainly confined to the mayoralty and the treasuryship. The large vote given Doctor Winslow for mayor was highly complimentary in view of the popularity of Mayor Richmond — 1,120 to 896 in favor of the latter. In Kaukauna Thomas Reese was elected mayor. The city treasurer reported $14,313.53 on hand at the beginning of the fiscal year 1885-6, and total receipts of $178,846.56. The expenses were the same, less $14,335.70 on hand at the end of the year; $8,215 was paid on bonds and coupons; over $31,000 was paid for bank loans and interest.
The joint assembly district comprised the city of Kaukauna, the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth wards of Appleton and the towns of Kaukauna and Buchanan. William Lamure (D.) was elected assemblyman in 1886 .
The election of November was of great interest to the politicians of this county. The democrats, prohibitionists and labor parties nominated full tickets, but the republicans nominated candidates for register and superintendent. Many bitter personalities were thrown. There was sharp contest over register, clerk and superintendent. For register there was a triangular fight. There were many surprises — more than ever before. The labor and prohibition tickets cut but little figure. The labor candidate for governor Cochrane received 374 votes in the county and the prohibition candidate Olin 93. John M. Bair (R.) was elected register by a considerable majority over the democratic and labor candidates. James V. Canovan was elected clerk by a substantial majority. R. H. Schmidt (R.) was elected school superintendent. This election was a republican victory. Charles B. Clark (R.) for congress swept the county by more than 1,100 majority. The assemblymen were divided. For governor Rusk (R.) received in the county 2,229 votes and Woodward (D.) 3,454 .
Dr. Rush Winslow was solicited to become a candidate for mayor in the spring of 1887 by a score or more of citizens. He accepted and was elected without opposition. John F. Rose was elected treasurer over Commerford. Samuel Boyd was elected attorney without much opposition. The contest for assessor between Richmond and Johnston was very close; in a large vote the former had a majority of two .
In 1887 the state was reapportioned into assembly districts. The city of Appleton and towns of Center and Grand Chute were made district No. 1. The rest of the county and a portion of neighboring counties was another. This apportionment was very unsatisfactory.
A republican club was organized at Seymour in March, 1888, with D. A. Kenyon as president. F. R. Dittmer was elected delegate to the state convention at Madison .
“Never perhaps in the history of the city have tickets been so, cut up, scratched, pasted and confusing as at today’s election. People are not adhering at all to party preferences, but are voting as they please so that republican and democratic candidates are jumbled together on almost every ticket. Thomas Burslem, labor candidate, showed unexepected strength for mayor. John Bottensek was republican candidate for city attorney. Dr. Winslow for mayor received 1,156, Mr. Burslem 690 and Mr. Peep 80. Rose was elected treasurer by a small majority; Boyd city attorney by a small majority and Morrow assessor.”
At Kaukauna Peter Reuter was elected mayor; C. Hamer, clerk; Nicholas Schwin treasurer and Joseph Filler assessor .
In the fall of 1888 the republicans did not nominate a general ticket; they named R. Muttant for county superintendent and elected him over R. Uecke (D.). All parties in the county fought hard to poll as many votes as possible. Republican and democratic clubs were organized at Appleton, Kaukauna, Seymour, Shiocton, Stephensville, Hortonville and elsewhere. The prohibitionists worked as if they expected to elect their whole ticket. W. D. Hoard and Major Rockwood addressed the republicans and John M. Olin the prohibitionists. A big democratic rally was held when Col. W. F. Vilas spoke here. The election of November, 1888, resulted as follows: For president — Harrison (R.) 2,759; Cleveland (D.) 3,999; Fisk (Pro.) 122; Streeter (Lab.) 49. For governor — Hoard (R.) 2,779, Morgan (D.) 3,992, Durand (Pro.) 67, Powell (Lab.) 28. After the results of this election were known the republicans held a large celebration of the party successes; they paraded the streets with bands and serenaded prominent republicans — H. D. Smith, M. P. Griswold, Herman Erb, H. W. Meyer, George Gerry, Henry Holbrook and others .
In the spring of 1889, Mayor Winslow announced that he was not a candidate for re-election. A meeting was called late in March to organize a Citizens’ Association, whose duty it should be to select a citizens’ ticket for municipal offices. Messrs. Marston, Peabody and Chilson were appointed a nominating committee. So little interest was shown in this movement that it was finally dropped and the usual course was pursued. The democrats nominated a full ticket and the republicans the same. Dr. A. H. Levings was the nominee of the democrats for mayor and Dr. J. H. Cook of the republicans. Levings received 1,232 votes and Cook 845; Hilfert defeated Rose for the treasurership by 62 votes and H. D. Ryan defeated H. W. Tenney for city attorney by 523 votes. The democrats took most of the “plums.”
In March, 1890, 245 persons signed a petition praying that an election might be held on the question of license or no license in Appleton.
There was little excitement at the city election of April, 1890; the democrats secured most of the prizes. Dr. A. H. Levings, democratic candidate for mayor, was elected by over 900 majority over Peerenboom, republican candidate. Ryan for attorney and Richmond for assessor, both democrats, won by substantial majorities. Levings (D.) received 1,364, and Peerenboom 459, for mayor; for treasurer, Hilfert (D.) received 1,254 and Kutler 539; for assessor, Richmond (D.) 1,225, Siekman, 569; for attorney, Ryan (D.) 988, Whitman 771. There were cast for the license system 1,318, and against it 433. The Australian ballot was used .
A republican club was organized in April, 1890, with John Bottensek president, S. D. Bradford secretary, and John Driscoll treasurer; every ward was represented by a vice-president This was not a campaign organization, but a permanent one. The annual dues were fixed at $1.00. The sum of $200 was subscribed to start the club .
The election of November, 1900, was purely a party affair; three tickets were in the field — democratic, republican and prohibitionist. The candidates made considerable noise, but few or none were stampeded. The democrats again swept the county, the vote for sheriff, as follows, showing approximately the majority of that party: Fose (D.), 3,548; Dunn (R.), 1,664; Sanborn (Pro.), 201 .
The election in Appleton in April, 1891, was not enthusiastic nor surprising. Levings (D.) for mayor, received 1,359. and Lummis (R.) 434. For treasurer — Hilfert (D.) 1,284; Olmsted (R.) 403; Polifka (Pro.) 148. For attorney — Ryan (D.) 1,028; Search (Pro.) 145; Whitman (R.) 660. For assessor — Morrow (D.) 992; Driscoll (R.) 674; Greenfield (Pro.) 157. For circuit judge — Goodland (D.) 1,147; Myers (Ind.) 497; Goodrick (Pro.) 174. In the whole county Goodland received 3,251; Myers, 1,267; Goodrick, 894. Dr. Levings left the city permanently whereupon a special election was held in October to fill the vacancy. Dr. Rush Winslow received 283 votes and there were 21 scattering. This was the smallest vote for city officers on record since pioneer times.
The results of the April, 1892, election in Appleton were quite favorable to the republicans. Of the six aldermen elected three were republicans. J. A. Hawes, the republican candiate for mayor, ran only 372 behind the popular Doctor Winslow. The entire democratic city ticket was elected, though by reduced majorities. The vote for mayor was: Winslow (D.) 1,047; Hawes (R.) 675; Duval (Ind.) 71 .
The campaign of 1892 was spirited and warmly contested. John C. Spooner spoke here and was tendered a splendid ovation. Col. H. A. Frambach of Kaukauna was the republican candidate for congress .
T. C. Richmond, prohibition candidate for governor, addressed a large audience at the armory in July; delegates were present from Hortonville, Stephensville and Kaukauna .
The election of November, 1892, favored the democrats. Cleveland’s plurality was 1,814; Peck’s (for governor) 1,894;.Barnes’, 1,787; Kennedy’s, 1,659; Tracy’s, 986; Brill’s, 814; Dardi’s, 1,620; Adrian’s 1,817. There were cast 262 votes for the amendment to the constitution and 499 against it .
The Democrats in the spring of 1893 nominated Humphrey Pierce for mayor; Henry Hilfert, treasurer; Samuel Boyd, attorney, and J. S. Buck, assessor. The prohibitionists nominated L. W. Underwood for mayor; S. B. Belding, treasurer; Edward James, attorney and E. E. Dunn, assessor. The republicans nominated Thomas Pearson for mayor; M. S. Barteau, treasurer; J. F. Johnston, assessor, and A. B. Whitman, attorney. In April, 1893, the election resulted as follows: For mayor — Pierce (D.) 994; Pearson (R.) 815; Underwood (Pro.) 140. For treasurer — Hilfert (D.) 1,092; Barteau (R.) 644; Bilding (Pro.) 128. For attorney — Boyd (D.) 978; Whitman (R.) 763; James (Pro.) 920. For assessor — Buck (D.) 1,101; Storch (R.) 538; Dunn (Pro.) 129. G. T. Moeskes was reelected county judge without opposition .
In April, 1894, the county board was republican by a majority of two; the board had 32 members at this time. The vote for mayor was: Pierce (D.) 1,050; Peter R. Thom (R.) 1,698. For treasurer — Lennon (D.) 978; F. W. Kutler (R.) 1,704. For attorney — Boyd (D.) 935; A. B. Whitman (R.) 1,713. For assessor — Morrow (D.) 983; Henry Holbrook (R.) 1,658. This was one of the most signal defeats the democracy of Appleton ever suffered. It was mainly due to dissatisfaction in their own ranks. Mr. Thom was the first republican mayor since 1882. This victory was too great to pass without a demonstration. The republicans marched through the streets and serenaded the winners and listened to speeches by T. B. Reid and others. Mayor Pierce in retiring described what the democratic administration had done for the city. Mr. Thom outlined the policy of his administration. He spoke particularly of the streets, sewers, water supply, lighting, police, finance, etc .
The election of November, 1894, in Wisconsin was in favor of republicanism. The prohibitionists had a ticket in the field. In this county the following majorities were given: E. S. Minor (R.) 232, for congress. For assembly, second district — John Necke, 330. County clerk — John Montgomery (R.) 324; treasurer — August Mill (R.) 380; sheriff — Charles Booke (R.) 357; court clerk — Henry Kreiss (R.) 352; register of deeds — D. A. Kenyon (R.) 239; district attorney — John Bottensek (R.) 253; coroner — W. F. Montgomery (R.) 303; surveyor — F. J. Harriman (R.) 297; school superintendent — G. D. Zeigler (R.) 261 .
In 1894 Outagamie county gave for governor: George W. Peck (D.) 4,015; W. H. Upham (R.) 3,738; D. F. Powell (Pro.) 152; J. F. Cleghorn (Pop.) 244. In the first district Hubert Wolf (D.) was elected to the assembly; in the second district John Necke (R.) was elected. For congress, Minor (R.) received in the eighth district 20,002 votes; Barnes (D.) 15,612; Tarrobee (Pop.) 330; Faville (Pro.) 946 .
The republicans of Kaukauna held a jollification meeting in the opera house after the November election, 1894, to voice their joy at the results. The noise was continued long after the meeting adjourned .
The republicans in 1894 endorsed Thomas B. Reid for congress, but Minor was nominated .
In the spring of 1895 David Hammel was nominated by the democrats for mayor, James McCabe for treasurer, H. Pierce for attorney. The republicans renominated Peter Thom for mayor, F. W. Kutter for treasurer, A. B. Whitman for attorney and George Schuldes for assessor. The election resulted as follows: For mayor — Thom (R.) 1,619; Hammel (D.) 1,238. For treasurer — Kutter (R.) 1,462; McCabe (D.) 1,339. For attorney — Whitman (R.) 1,558; Pierce (D.) 1,220. George Schuldes was elected assessor without opposition. This was considered an endorsemnent of the republican administration of the previous year. It was a hard-fought contest. The republicans elected four of the six aldermen. There were no issues except good government .
In the spring of 1896 the republicans endorsed and renominated their former ticket with one or two changes. The democrats nominated for mayor Dr. Rush Winslow; for treasurer, Julius Peerenboom; attorney, D. T. Winne; assessor, J. S. Buck. The result was the election of the whole republican city ticket, with three aldermen and two justices of the peace. Thom was re-elected mayor by 272 majority; Kutter treasurer by 335; Whitman attorney by 678; Beske assessor by 75. The latter was a new man in politics. This result was an endorsement of the former administration. Politics had little or nothing to do with the result. The fight against the former administration was on high taxes, but the voters evidently did not believe the charges. The county board was 17 democrats and 16 republicans. The issue in Kaukauna was the saloon limits; the democrats there elected their entire city ticket by from 75 to 80 majority; the vote polled was 1,216. It is probable that the change of Appleton from democracy to republicanism was due to the influences of the labor and free silver questions; the hard-headed men of both parties stuck to the gold basis and to the limitation of labor rights and prerogatives.
Great interest was taken in the campaign of 1896; opinions were changing; the money and labor questions were intensely important; there was a large registration, showing the interest involved. The democracy here as elsewhere split on the money question, many favoring free silver, but many others advocating the gold standard. The campaign culminated late in October, when Spooner, Bryan, Mylerea, Bragg, Scofield, Minor and others delivered fiery and eloquent speeches to large and enthusiastic audiences. In a whirlwind finish Bryan spoke here twenty minutes from the car platform. Spooner and Mylerea, of course, upheld republican principles. General Bragg was a gold democrat and did not a little to turn Wisconsin democrats in that direction. There were five national tickets in the field and all were represented in this county .
“The result in Outagamie county has been a republican landslide, as elsewhere. Every man on the republican county ticket has been elected, and the majorities are beyond the expectations of the most sanguine, rising in some eases to 1,350, which shows a wonderful change of sentiment in a county which only four years ago was 1,200 to 1,500 democratic.” — (Post, November 12, 1896.) Minor (R.) was elected to congress; Whitman (R.) to the state senate, and Wolter (R.) and Clack (R.) to the assembly .
The candidates in the spring of 1897 were as follows: Republican — For mayor, Herman Erb, Sr.; treasurer, F. W. A. Storch; attorney, E. G. Jones; assessor, E. N. Johnson. Democracy — For mayor, John Pingle; treasurer, F. W. Hoffman; attorney, T. H. Ryan; assessor, N. E. Morgan. The republicans elected mayor and treasurer and the democrats attorney and assessor. There was a heavy majority in the county for the anti-pass amendment to the constitution. The majorities were as follows: For mayor: Erb (R.) 281; for treasurer, Storch (R.) 196; for attorney, Ryan (D.) 175; for assessor, Morgan (D.) 105 .
In the spring of 1898 the republicans nominated for mayor Herman Erb, Jr.; treasurer, F. A. W. Storch; attorney, A. M. Spencer; assessor, G. Leinpert. The democrats nominated for mayor Gus Keller; treasurer, Albert Bentz; attorney, T. H. Ryan; assessor, J. Mayer. The republicans urged the re-election of Mr. Erb and the whole party ticket. There was not much interest, each voter sticking to his party in the main. The republican ticket was successful by the following majorities: Erb 453, Starch 352, Spencer 106, Leinpert 402. Erb received 1,669 and Keller 1,216. The republicans elected aldermen in the First and Sixth wards and supervisors in the First, Second and Sixth wards. The council stood five republicans and seven democrats. The county board was 18 republicans and 15 democrats .
In the fall of 1898 the republicans nominated William Wilson for sheriff; Bert Zuehlke, register; John Montgomery, county clerk; John Wunderlich, treasurer; Thomas Reese, court clerk; F. M. Wilcox, attorney; F. J. Harriman, surveyor; T. E. Johnston, coroner; G. D. Ziegler, school superintendent. The result was the election of the whole republican ticket by majorities ranging from 800 to 1,200. The campaign was a lively one, with an abundance of mud and bad language. The republican assemblymen — Willy and Daggett were elected. This was really the victory of sound money .
In the spring of 1899 the republicans nominated Herman Erb, Jr., for mayor; F. A. W. Storch for treasurer; A. M. Spencer for attorney and John F. Rose for assessor. The democrats nominated Rush Winslow for mayor; Joseph Koffend for treasurer; Humphrey Pierce for attorney and Maj. N. E. Morgan for assessor. The democrats charged that the city was being burdened with debt under republican rule, but the latter denied the charge and produced figures to the contrary. The republican candidates were elected by the majorities respectively as follows: 337, 312, 277 and 236. The democrats elected four aldermen, leaving the council as before 7 to 5 democratic. This was the sixth time in succession that the city was carried by the republicans on local elections; it had gone three times republican at general elections, at this election (1899) the democrats alleged “inequalities of assessment,” which issue was denied by the republicans .
The city election in April, 1900, was a victory for the democrats who elected their whole ticket. The result was as follows: For mayor, David Hammel (D.) 1,585, Schmidt (R.) 1,243. For treasurer, Goodland (D.) 1,545, Storch (R.) 1,300. For attorney, Ryan (D.) 1,499, Spencer (R.) 1,287. For assessor, Morgan (D.) 1,620, Wickesberg (R.) 1,199 .
“If the truth were known it would probably appear that both parties are surprised at the result of Tuesday’s election in this city — the republicans because they were defeated by so large a majority and the democrats because they had any majority. No doubt several causes operated to turn the city over to the democracy after being for six successive years in the hands of the republicans. Among these the principal one was the cry against high taxes and the creation of a municipal bonded debt. The recent strife over the public library and city hall building may also have served to change a good many votes. * * Another potent cause was the spirit of factionalism which has grown up among the republicans of this community.” — (Post, April 12, 1900.)
Doctor Tanner (R.) was candidate for congress in 1900, but E. S. Minor (R.) received the nomination. F. A. Willy (R.) was candidate for the state senate and W. L. Root (R.) and David Hodgins (R.) for the assembly .
In Shiocton a McKinley, Roosevelt and La Follette club was organized in 1900 with over 60 members; F. J. Barnes was president .
Late in September the democrats held a memorable meeting at the armory, Senator Tillman being the principal speaker. The West End Democratic Club escorted the speaker to the armory. All the prominent democrats of this section were present .
In 1900 the democrats nominated Herman Hagen for sheriff; E. Ross, register; J. Sullivan, treasurer; Peter Hodgins, county clerk; Gus Keller, court clerk; Theodore Berg, attorney; John Pingel, coroner; Herman Beckenstretter, school superintendent; James Barker, surveyor. The democrats of Seymour organized a Bryan club with 135 members, Louis Mueller being president; the republicans also organized there and did effective work. Attorney-General Hicks, spoke there early in October. Congressman Minor addressed a large audience at Odd Fellows hall, Seymour, in October. P. H. Martin and others spoke there on the issues .
The republicans culminated their campaign with an immense meeting late in October on which occassion Mr. La Follette addressed a large crowd at the armory. He spoke there and then went to the opera house where another large crowd awaited him. George B. Nelson followed him in a strong speech .
The democratic candidate for governor, Louis G. Bohmrich, was given a rousing reception late in October on the occasion of his big speech here. He spoke at the armory to a large and enthusiastic audience.
The vote in this county was as follows: McKinley 5,245, Bryan 4,008. The entire republican county ticket was elected by goodly majorities. In Seymour 77 Indians voted and in the town of Seymour 9 more. There were many objections to this step. Each voter was challenged in order that his right to vote might be contested .
In the spring of 1901 two bills that related to the establishment of voting precincts in the Oneida reservation were introduced in the legislature .
The result for mayor in 1901 was Hammel (D.) 1,567; Leith (R.) 1,227, for treasurer — Goodland (D.) 1,601, Stark (R.) 1,145, for attorney — Ryan (D.) 1,521, Krugmeier (R.) 1,204; for assessor — Limpert 1,448; county judge (vote in Appleton) — Kreiss (R.) 1,505, Moeskes (D.) 1,049 .
In the spring of 1902 the republicans nominated Stilman Fish for mayor, William Wilson for treasurer, Frank W. Harriman for attorney and John F. Rose for assessor. The water works question cut a big figure at this election. The democrats renominated Mr. Hammel for mayor and succeeded in electing their entire city ticket with the exception of assessor. Hammel’s majority was 280, John Goodland’s for treasurer 183, T. H. Ryan’s for attorney 170, John Rose’s for assessor 262. Mr. Hammel recommended a continuance of the fight for a city water works .
The republicans in October, 1902, nominated Thomas H. Mitchell for sheriff; A. A. Raisler, county clerk; Glen Morse, court clerk; B. J. Zuehlke, register; F. M. Wilcox, attorney; Charles Baker, treasurer; Thomas E. Johnston, coroner; Charles Gillet, surveyor; Arthur Meating, school superintendent. The Democrats nominated W. C. Bauer for sheriff; Julius Zuelhke, register; J. H. Kamps, court clerk; Michael Sullivan, treasurer; Carl Ludwig, county clerk; F. J. Rooney, attorney; J. M. Barker, surveyor; George Spencer, coroner; J. I. Ritchey, school superintendent. Both conventions were large, orderly and both endorsed state and national policies. This was the first year that the Oneida Indians had a polling place on their reservation. Votes were cast in the new hall connected with the Methodist church. They had their own inspectors, clerks, judges, etc. The Outagamie county portion was known as the West Oneida district. The Oneidas had been voting for three years; they were first permitted to vote in 1899 when James Garvey of Freedom, an election officer, refused to permit Lehigh Wheelock, a full blooded Indian, to cast his ballot. Mr. Wheelock took the case into court and Judge Goodland held that the Indians had the right to vote. After that until 1902 they voted in Seymour, Freedom and Osborn. In July, 1902, they petitioned for their own polling place, the following names being signed to the petition. Joseph C. Hart, William Swamp, John Swamp, Anton Swamp, Peter Swamp, Joshua Denny, Wilson Denny, Edward Parkhurst, Leonard Smith, Cornelius Baird, Jr., Levi Baird, Simon Powless, John D. Powless, Jacob Hill, David Hill, John Hill, Wilson Hill, Simon Hill, Wiliam King, John Archiquette, James Silas, Martin D. Archiquette, James A. Mulock, Cornelius Wheelock, Thomas Dextater and Cornelius Baird, Sr. The first inspectors were George Dextater, Lehigh Wheelock and Josiah Powless; first clerks Nelson Metoxen and Joshua Archiquette; ballot clerks Eugene Smith and Israel Hill. They were nearly all republicans. About 125 had voted for three years, but now in 1902 the number was estimated at nearly 300. A republican meeting held there in October was addressed by F. W. Harriman; about 100 red men listened to him .
“The results in this county are especially gratifying. The returns which are in thus far show that a lighter vote was polled in the city and county than two years ago, making allowance for this difference the Republican majorities will equal or perhaps exceed those of two years ago. * * * Republicans in Appleton are today rejoicing over a decisive victory in state, county and city. * * * It is estimated that 100 of the votes were cast by women, principally school teachers. The vote on the three amendments to the constitution — banking, state superintendent and free pass — were favorable. * * * The entire Republican county ticket has been elected by a majority which is conservatively estimated at 500. * * * In spite of the fact that he, was running against his father who the Democrats claimed would draw votes usually given to B. J. Zuehlke, register, he ran way ahead of his ticket. Close behind him is A. A. Raisler. Both Republican assemblymen are elected. At one of the polling places, the clerks as a joke, required a lady to tell her age which she did without any hesitation, thus turning the joke on them.” — (Post in various articles November, 1902.)
In the spring of 1904 the Republicans nominated F. W. Harriman for mayor; A. M. Spencer, attorney; Otto Schaefer, treasurer; George Limpert, assessor. The Democrats nominated Fred Petersen, Jr., for mayor; John Goodland, Jr., treasurer; Thomas H. Ryan, attorney, and N. E. Morgan, assessor. In the caucus Charles Hagen was nominated for president of Black Creek; E. Bergeman for supervisor; John Prebie, assessor; Frank Weisenburger, clerk, and J. N. Blick, treasurer .
“Fine weather and unusual political activity conspired Tuesday to bring out one of the heaviest votes ever polled in Appleton. The final count gives F. W. Harriman for mayor a majority of 96 over Fred Petersen, Jr. John Goodland, Jr., was the only democratic candidate on the city ticket who was elected, he winning from his opponent, John Thiessenheusen by a majority of 365. For city attorney A. M. Spencer defeated Thomas H. Ryan by a majority of 215. George Limpert won over Col. N. E. Morgan for city assessor. In the council are six republicans and six democrats.” — (Crescent, April, 1904.)
The republicans claimed that during the mayoralties of Thom and Erb they built the city hall and public library, at a cost of $40,000; new brick poorhouse, $8,200; new drawbridge on John street, $1,500; rebuilt Lake street bridge, $3,600; Lawrence street bridge ravine, $2,500; hose house, $1,900; State street improvement, $10,000; paid bridge bonds, $8,000; improvements and repairs of other streets, $60,000; total, $135,700. To meet this expense they issued only $50,000 in bonds and left over to the next administration only $37,000 to pay. The democrats contended that after the administration of Thom and Erb they paid the $37,000 left over by the republicans, made great improvements and paid for the John street bridge over $40,000 without unnecessary tax and without selling a city bond .
“Never in the history of Outagamie county have the people become so thoroughly agitated over politics; and Appleton last night saw the fiercest fight for delegate supremacy ever known at city caucuses. Hacks, busses and vehicles of nearly every description were enlisted to convey the voters to their respective polling places. The victory in Outagamie county is perhaps the most notable one in the history of local politics. In the First district the figures showed 20 delegates for La Follette and 33 against, and in the Second district 22 for him and 94 against him.” — (Post, May 19, 1904.) Governor La Follette spoke here before these caucuses. There was intense feeling over Mr. La Follette’s anmbition for another term as governor .
The result in Outagamie county in November, 1904, was as follows: For president, Roosevelt (R.), 5,951; Parker (D.), 3,129; Swallow (Pro.), 134; Debs (Soc. Dem.), 112. For governor — La Follette (R.), 5,042; Peck (D.), 3,996; Schofield (N. R.), 209; Minor (R.) for congress won in this county by a small margin. The republicans elected county clerk, treasurer, sheriff, coroner, court clerk, attorney, register and surveyor. There was a majority in favor of the primary law. Charles H. Baake (R.) and Charles Hagan (R.) were elected to the assembly. The election was preceded by a lukewarm campaign except during the two weeks immediately prior to voting .
There was nothing exciting in the city election in April, 1905; the council was 8 republicans and 4 democrats. Judge Kreiss became county judge there being no contest; the same of John F. Rose for assessor. The new primary election law was in force .
In the spring of 1906 many important questions in municipal affairs were asking for solution — the water works tangle; continuation of public improvements already commenced; additional indebtedness; kind of pavements; economy in expenditures; what new improvements should be commenced, etc. Both parties determined on “Municipal water works at all hazards.” The republicans paid little attention to the primary, having already decided on their candidates. They were B. C. Wolter for mayor; A. M. Spencer for attorney; Henry Brown for treasurer, and Fred Kranhold for assessor — received at the primary only 332, 303, 292 and 288 respectively out of from 1,300 to 1,700 polled. At the primary the democrats nominated David Hammel for mayor; John Goodland, Jr., treasurer; Thomas H. Ryan, attorney; H. Liethen, assessor. “Republican partisans felt that they had no contest to fight and consequently remained away from the polls. The entire republican vote in the city yesterday scarcely aggregates 500.” — (Post.)
The election in April, 1906, was one of the closest in many years. For mayor Hammel (D.) received 1,586, and Wolter (R.) 1,536. For attorney Ryan (D.) 1,581, Spencer (R.) 1,433. For treasurer Goodland (D.) 1,723, Brown (R.) 1,305. For assessor Leithen (D.) 1,442, Kranhold (R.) 1,511. The total vote polled was 3,122, an unusually large one. The day was pleasant and as all took interest in the issues, voters generally turned out. The council was republican. Mayor-elect Hammel said after the results was known, “Now I want all citizens to join hands, circle round and settle the water works question. * * * If Venner will sell the old plant for a reasonable figure we’ll buy; if he refuses then we’ll build a new system.”
At the primary election in September, 1906, there was considerable interest shown, both old parties making such efforts to bring out the voters. The republicans favored J. O. Davidson for governor by a large majority and the democrats J. A. Aylward. Full county tickets were named. The result of the election in November, was as follows: County clerk, Adolph Locksmidt (D.) 3,399; A. A. Raisler (R.) 3,453. Treasurer — John Coppes (D.) 3,321, J. J. McCarthy (R.) 3,515. Sheriff — David Hodgins (R.) 3,000, Michael M. Lockery (D.) 3,968. Coroner — Gottfried Langstedt (D.) 3,156, Thomas E. Johnston (R.) 3,555. Court clerk — Barnhardt F. Luebben (D.) 3,123, Glen Morse (R.) 3,694. District attorney — Albert H. Krugmeier (R.) 3,341, Francis J. Rooney (D.) 3,534. Register — Abe Danielson (D.) 3,469, Bernard Zuehlke (R.) 3,420. Surveyor — I. N. Stewart (D.) 3,292, Charles Gillett (R.) 3,457. For governor — Davidson (R.), 3,794; John A. Avlward (D.), 3,026; E. L. Eaton – (Pro.), 147; W. R. Gaylord (Soc. Dem.), 76 .
W. J. Bryan spoke here at a banquet in his honor in March, 1907; his speech following the banquet was one of the most powerful politically ever delivered in this city .
There was little excitement at the April election, 1908. The following was the result: For mayor — Hammel (D.), 1,528; Wolter (R.), 1,662. For treasurer — Goodland (D.), 1,852; Heckert (R.), 1,158. For attorney — Ryan (D.) 1,538, Cannon (R.) 1,403. For assessor — Gmeiner (D.), 1,480, Rose (R.), —- . The council was six democrats and six republicans. The total vote was 3,190. There were no particular issues .
Four tickets were in the field at the primary in September, 1908 — democratic, republican, social democratic and prohibitionist. The social democratic ticket received 32 to 35 votes in the whole county. The prohibitionists had no county ticket; on the state ticket they received from 31 to 41 votes. The highest votes for governor was as follows: Davidson (R.), 3,747; Aylward (D.), 618; Schmitz (D.), 468. Generally the republican candidates had more votes than the democratic candidates for county offices.
There was much interest in the primary election of September, 1908, and accordingly a large vote was polled. Several sharp contests among many candidates resulted. Big political meetings were held all over the county by the various parties this fall. During the campaign Governor Davidson delivered several speeches in the county — Oneida, Seymour, Shiocton, Black Creek and elsewhere. Local speakers informed the farmers of the issues .
The results of the eletion in November, 1908, was as follows: For governor — Davidson (R.) 4,971, Aylward (D.) 4,366; for county clerk — Raisler (R.) 5,029, Lockschmidt (D.) 4,339; for treasurer — Ritger (R.) 4,820, Coppes (D.) 4,567; for sheriff — Koch (R.) 5,039, Kuehn (D.) 4,391; for coroner — Johnston (R.) 5,016, Schommer (D.) 4,267; for court clerk — Morse (R.) 5,154, Clark (D.) 4,179; for district attorney –Frank (R.) 4,625, Rooney (D.) 4,740; for register — Zuehlke (R.) 4,821, Lockery (D.) 4,609; for congress — Kuesterman (R.) 4,443, Lindauer (D.) 4,775; for senate — Lehr (R.) 4,469, Peabody (D.) 4,849; for assembly — Phillips (R.) 2,265, Knapstein (D.) 2,225; for assembly — Ballard (R.) 2,687, Ludwig (D.) 2,183. Four amendments to the constitution were voted in and all carried in this county. Gillett (R.) for surveyor had no opposition. The Socialists lost ground. The result on the presidential ticket was as follows: Republican 5,079, democrat 4,286, social democrat 209, prohibition 118 .
“With the possible exception of Julius P. Frank every candidate on the republican ticket was elected at the polls yesterday. Glen Morse and Albert G. Koch securing majorities larger than that given to Taft. The returns show in detail the splendid vote received by most of the candidates on the republican county ticket. Every republican town in the county stood by the hip and gave the candidates the usual splendid majority. The total vote was abnormally large.” — (Post, November, 1908.)
At first it was urged that a no-partisan election should be held in April, 1910; but soon the large number of candidates seeking the offices rendered that course impracticable. Later at a public meeting of both parties it was agreed that the republicans should have mayor and assessor and the democrats attorney and treasurer — B. C. Wolter (R.) for mayor; Henry D. Ryan (D.) for attorney; John Goodland, Jr., (D.) for treasurer, and Mr. Gillett (R.) for assessor. The democrats nominated the following ticket: Dr. J. V. Canavan, mayor; Henry D. Ryan, attorney; John Goodland, Jr., treasurer; J. J. Hauert, assessor. The republicans nominated B. C. Wolter for mayor; Fred M. Wilcox for attorney; Peter Rademacher for treasurer, and George C. Limpert for assessor .
“The political pot has certainly been boiling overtime in the last forty-eight hours. First it appeared the two parties might possibly get together and name a strictly non-partisan ticket and when everything was seemingly arranged one or the other ‘kicked over the traces’ and after many conferences it was finally decided this morning that both parties would put tickets in the field and let the electors decide by ballot who was to be elected. It will now be a fight to the finish. The democrats could not endorse Mayor Wolter’s administration.” — (Crescent, March 7, 1910.)
The result at the primary was as follows: For mayor — Canavan (D.) 212, Wolter (R.) 302; for attorney — Ryan (D.) 185, Wilcox (R.) 263; for treasurer — Goodland (D.) 198, Rademacher (R.) 266; for assessor — Hauert (D.) 189, Limpert (R.) 275 .
The result of the city election was as follows: For mayor — Canavan (D.) 1,367, Wolter (R.) 1,053; for attorney — Ryan (D.) 1,281, Wilcox (R.) 918; for treasurer — Goodland (D.) 1,463, Rademacher (R.) 854; for assessor — Hauert (D.) 1,135, Limpert (R.) 1,020.
At the primaries in September, 1910, both old parties organized and fought hard to make the best showing. Among individuals there were sharp contests for place. Four regular tickets and one or more independents were prepared for the support of the “dear people.” The two old parties named the following tickets:
Social Democrat — Peter Larsen, sheriff; H. B. Eberhardt, treasurer; M. G. Smith, register; Henry Bell, coroner; Charles Drenks, assembly 1; A. M. Miller, assembly 2 .
There was much betting on the results of the November election, 1910. One of the issues at stake was local option or county option. This gave great zest and fire to the campaign. The result was as follows: For governor — Schmitz (D.) 3,425, McGovern (R.) 3,488; for congressman — Konop (D.) 3,510, Kuestermann (R.) 3,378; for assembly, first district — Kelly (D.) 1,686, Ballard (R.) 1,919; for assembly, second district — Rohan (D.) 1,711, Keelan (R.) 1,600; for county clerk — Perkins (D.) 3,473, Wolf (R.) 3,520; for treasurer — Coppes (D.) 3,646, Ritger (R.) 3,296; for sheriff — Lockery (D.) 4,203, Kuehne (R.) 2,841; for coroner — Gmeiner (D.) 3,390, Johnston (R.) 3,401; for court clerk — Danielson (D.) 3,783, Diestler (R.) 3,147; for district attorney — Rooney (D.) 3,969, Frank (R.) 3,000; for register — Ryan (D.) 3,273, Zuehlke (R.) 3,722; for surveyor — Stewart (D.) 3,385, Gillett (R.) 3,450. This election was really a democratic victory in this county; previous republican majorities were whittled down or wholly wiped out in the case of five candidates out of eight .
In the spring of 1911 under the new commission form of government the call for one mayor and two councilmen brought out a multitude of candidates — brought out the best men of the city. All citizens realized the importance of having the soundest heads of the city to set in successful and satisfactory operation under the new, unique and pioneer commission form of municipal government, the wheels of control. At the primaries the voters were required to select two candidates for mayor and four candidates for councilmen, presumably three for each of the two old parties — one mayor and two councilmen. At the election all were to be eliminated except one mayor and two councilmen. The total vote polled at the primaries was 3,167. Voting machines were used .
Thus Canavan was elected mayor and Goodland and Schueller councilmen. Judge Thomas H. Ryan was re-elected without opposition judge of the municipal court for four more years. A. G. Meating was re-elected county superintendent without much opposition, having served already in that office eight years; he received 1,502 votes and his opponent, Mr. Balgie, 108.
FRENCH explorers and voyageurs were the first white persons to navigate Fox river, an account of which will be found elsewhere herein. As early as 1832 the Wisconsin Navigation Company was incorporated. In 1838 Congress authorized the survey of a railroad from Milwaukee to Dubuque. The same year Congress authorized the survey of a common road from Fort Crawford to Fort Howard; this was to extend along the lower Fox river. At the same date a military road was ordered built from Green Bay via Milwaukee to Chicago .
“Let it be recorded that in 1841 Capt. Peter Hotaling brought the first river steamer, the Black Hawk, to Green Bay, then to Kaukauna, where he made an unsuccessful attempt to get her around the rapids. In 1856, Capt. Stephen Hotaling, a son of the old veteran, brought the first river steamer from the upper Fox and Lake Winnebago, through the lower Fox and its numerous locks and canals, to Green Bay.” — (Crescent, June 21, 1856.)
In 1845 a steamboat passed up Wisconsin river to Point Bosse a mile below Whitney’s mills and about fifty miles above the Dells.
The law of February, 1842, incorporated Fox River Improvement Company for $50,000, the shares being $50, which amount was “to be expended in improving the Neenah or Fox river and the construction of a rail or macadamized road on the portages on said river.” The company could appropriate “sufficient land from the foot of the rapids of Fox river to Winnebago lake to construct thereon a canal, rail or macadamized road,” and the first improvements made “shall be a railroad, canal or macadamized road from the foot of Grand Cacalin rapids (Kaukauna) to Winnebago lake.
In 1846 Governor Doty built the boat Manchester at Neenah which was used on Lake Winnebago. In the summer of the same year Mr. Bruce brought up Fox river a Mackinaw fishing smack, fore and aft rig, loaded with Indian supplies. She was afterward used as a passenger packet between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh and was commanded by Capt. Caleb Godfrey. In 1848 James Harris of Oshkosh built a sloop which was used on Lake Winnebago .
In 1846 Congress gave Wisconsin a large amount of land for the purpose of making a navigable route from Lake Michigan along Fox river to Wisconsin river. In 1853 the state, after spending $400,000 upon the improvements, transferred the whole project, including the land, to the Fox and Wisconsin Improvement Company, which issued bonds, completed the improvement and in 1856 passed the first steamer through from the Mississippi river to Green Bay. When the railroads arrived the route fell into disuse and the company was unable to pay interest on its bonds, whereupon suit was brought by the bondholders and the franchises, property and land grants of the company were sold to a corporation organized in 1866 as the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company. In 1870 the United States appraised the value of the locks and canals at $145,000, paid this sum and took possession of them and has since exercised control in the interests of navigation. The Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company still exists and retains its land grants, water power, franchises and other property. The company claims the right to all surplus water after the needs of navigation are supplied. This claim includes the right to tap the canals at any point and draw off the water, provided navigation is not interfered with, as well as the right to take all the surplus flow of the river at the head of each rapids and use it at that level. This claim has been confirmed by the United States Supreme Court. The company does not claim ownership of power which is developed at a level below the head of a rapids by persons owning the land and using water which has passed the tail races of the company. It thus sometimes occurs that the company owns the power while others own the land. In some instances these interests have been united in a joint company. Owing to protracted law suits growing out of these conflicting conditions the water powers at Rapide Croche and Little Kaukauna dams have not been improved. The failure of the water power to meet the demands of the turbines caused numerous law suits until finally the Neenah & Menasha Water Power Company was formed of nearly all the users of water power for the purpose of regulating the use of the surplus water. Under the rules of the secretary of war water may not be drawn below the crest of the Menasha dam except by his special permission. Fox river flows from Lake Winnebago in two nearly parallel channels distant about three-fourths of a mile from each other. These branches join in less than two miles in Lake Butte des Morts, an expansion of the river three miles long and extending at right angles to the general direction of the river.
The water powers at Appleton are not surpassed on the Lower Fox river. There the river has a total fall of 36.7 feet in a distance of 1.2 miles. This head is developed by three dams which divide the river into upper, middle and lower levels with estimated theoretical horsepower at ordinary flow of 4,238, 2,225 and 2,558 respectively. At Appleton the river by a natural bend changes its course from northeast to southeast, again turning to the northeast just above the lower dam. For purposes of navigation the government has constructed two dams, dividing the descent into two levels. The second or middle dam was constructed by private enterprise and is used exclusively for water power. The upper dam is of stone and the average head is about fourteen feet. Power is taken from a race along the left bank, from the ship canal on the right bank, and from the adjacent retaining wall. The race on the left bank is 600 feet long, and several extensive paper, pulp and flouring mills occupy the strip of land between it and the river. Here are located the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company; the Kimberly & Clark Company; the Vulcan and Tioga mills; and the Atlas paper mill. The Appleton Water Works Company receives power from the canal through a flume which supplies a head of eighteen feet. These companies, through long usage, own the powers they employ; such powers not being owned by the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company. On the right bank nearly all the power is taken from the long pier where the last named company owns the land and leases power to users. The head here varies from twelve to sixteen feet. The power is developed by the Wisconsin Traction, Heat, Light and Power Company. There is considerable unused power on this dam .
The middle dam is also independent of both the government work and the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company and was built by private capital for water power purposes only. It is 2,400 feet below the upper dam and is about 450 feet long; it was built in 1877. Previous to that year power was developed by wing dams passing up stream from both banks for several hundred feet. The present dam has a head varying from 7 to 14 feet; the north shore race is 800 feet long with a head varying from 9 to 12 feet. West’s canal starts at the right abutment of the dam and extends down Grand Chute Island for about 1,700 feet nearly parallel to the river; it is about 130 feet wide with an average head of about ten feet. On this dam are the following concerns: Fox River Paper Company, Patton Paper Company, Telulah Paper Mill, Appleton Machine Company, Appleton Woolen Mill, Fourth Ward Planing Mill, Marston & Beveridge Hub Works and Valley Iron Works .
The lower or government dam is located about three-fourths of a mile below the middle dam and just below, the lower bend of the river at a point where that stream is 485 feet wide, and is 417 feet long, crossing the river at an angle and reaching an embankment which extends 600 feet farther down stream. There are four methods of utilizing the power: (1) From the abutment of the dam; (2) from the race on the left bank; (3) from the ship canal; (4) from the Telulah Water Power Company’s canal on the right shore. The average head is 8.5 feet. The left shore race starts at a point 450 feet above the dam and extends nearly parallel to the channel, a distance of 1,200 feet below the dam. The right canal has several good locations. The land is owned by Messrs. Hyde and Harriman and the power by the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company. These interests were united and the canal was completed in 1880. It starts at the head of the ship canal and is 2,250 feet long; the head is about ten feet; on this canal is the mill of the Telulah Paper Company.
The Cedars dam backs up the water 3.3 miles to the lower Appleton dam, affording slack water navigation. Here Fox river is embraced by high clay banks and has an average width of 600 feet. The dam is located about 1,000 feet below where the bluffs leave the river at a creek mouth. It is 810 feet long and has a head of about 9.7 feet. The power is owned by the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company and is leased by the Kimberly & Clark Paper Company.
The next government dam is located 4,000 feet below the Cedars dam at Little Chute; here is a fall of 36.2 feet in the two miles. These rapids are passed by a canal 6,500 feet long on the left bank of the river. The river here is about 840 feet wide and the dam has a head of about 12 feet, though the total available head is 34 feet; about twenty feet of the fall has been developed. The Little Chute Paper Company and the flour mill of Mr. Verstigen are located here .
The Combined Locks dam is situated about a mile below Little Chute dam and is owned by the Combined Locks Paper Company which leases from the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company .
The Grand Kaukauna dam with a descent of 50.3 feet in less than a mile supplies the best water power on the lower Fox river. It is 2.5 miles distant from Little Chute dam. The rapids are passed by a ship canal 7,400 feet long which includes five locks with an average lift of 50.3 feet, all on the left bank of the river which is about 700 feet wide at the dam site, but broadens out to about 2,000 feet at the islands where excellent water power reposes. The power is made available (1) from the ship canal; (2) from the Kaukauna Water Power canal, and (3) from the Edwards & Meade canal. There is a frontage of 900 feet or more on the upper level of the ship canal suitable for power development and furnishing an average head of about 16 feet. The canal starts 400 feet above the dam; its depth is about 11 feet and the average head about 18 feet. A total of 2,100 feet frontage is available for power sites and mills. The dispute as to rights between the Kaukauna Water Power Company and the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company was settled in favor of the latter by the United States Supreme Court in October, 1898; the latter thereupon bought the entire plant and canal of the former. The court held that the use of the surplus waters created by the government dam and canal at Kaukauna belonged to the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company and that “after such waters had passed over the dam and through the sluices and had found their way into the unimproved bed of the stream, the rights and disputes of the riparian owners must be determined by the state court. The Edwards & Meade canal was built along a branch of the main north channel running between two large islands; sides and ends were dammed forming a pocket. It started 600 feet below the bridge and the dam was placed 1,000 feet below its head. As the water is taken from below the first level of the rapids, the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company had no legal claim to it, but subsequent to its development bought the power. A valuable power is in the lower level at Kaukauna .
The bill of congress granting land for the improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers was accepted by the Wisconsin assembly, June 27, 1848. Later the bill was amended by providing for the construction of a canal .
“The early completion of our great river improvement is now placed beyond all doubt. Two years will not pass before the steamboats of the Mississippi will unload at the wharves of Green Bay.” — (Green Bay Advocate, May 24, 1849.)
“Before the board (of control) decide upon letting the contracts for the Rapids, Grand Chute, Cedar Rapids and Petite Chute a survey and estimate is to be made for a canal which, commencing at the Grand Kaukaulin and ending at Lake Winnebago east of Menasha, shall cut off all these rapids.” — (Green Bay Advocate, July 12, 1849.)
In 1849 Capt. H. C. Hanson with the schooner Snowbird sailed up Fox river as far as Kaukauna; there the vessel was hauled out of the water, placed on trucks and transported to Appleton, where she was relaunched and sailed to Oshkosh. She was 56 by 9 by 4 1/2 feet. The vessel sailed through a lock at Depere. This boat did a big business on Lake Winnebago .
By November, 1849, the poles of the Milwaukee and Green Bay Telegraph Company were up the whole length of the line except about ten or fifteen miles between Appleton and Oshkosh; wire was to be strung at once; Daly and Swift were the agents of the company in charge of the construction .
The contracts for work on the Wisconsin and Fox River improvements were nearly all let by the spring of 1849, except on that part between Kaukalin (Kaukauna) and the Winnebago rapids; it was planned to commence work on that section in the fall of 1849.
“The act is entitled ‘An Act for the Improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers and to connect the same by a canal.’ The intention of the act is clear enough, that the Fox river was to be the first and foremost improved; the Wisconsin next and last of all the canal connecting both rivers. * * Taking into consideration the composition of the board of commissioners, the problems and propositions of the chief engineer, the log-rolling system, practiced in the Legislature hitherto, well may the people of Northern Wisconsin despair of the completion of the only main obstruction between the lakes and the Mississippi; viz.; the Grand Kaukalin and Grand Chute Rapids.” — (Samuel Ryan in Green Bay Advocate, May 2, 1850.)
“Fox River Steamboat. — The steamboat Indiana arrived at this place on Tuesday evening last from Chicago and started Wednesday forenoon on a trial trip to Depere and Bridgeport to which places she will ply regularly until the lock is completed at Rapide Croche when she will run to Kaukalin. She is a staunch boat and well calculated for the river trade.” — (Green Bay Advocate, August 8, 1850.)
“The estimated cost for the improvement of the ten miles from Lake Winnebago to the foot of the rapids at Grand Kaukauna was $255,000 .
“In the Fox river trade two steamers the Pioneer and Indiana and a large number of Durham boats are engaged in transporting passengers, merchandise, farming implements, household apparatus, produce, etc., and the value of this trade though yet in its infancy is incredible. The steamboat Pioneer is now making daily trips from this port to Kaukauna. She takes large quantities of merchandise and furniture for the different towns on Lake Winnebago and the upper Fox river.” — (Green Bay Advocate, June, 1851.) The steamer Morton was put on to ply between Neenah and Grand Chute in 1851. The Navarner was another boat on Lake Winnebago .
“Operations have commenced at Kaukauna on Mr. Martin’s contract. New surveys have been made by which the proposed canal is made much shorter and the workmen are clearing away the trees on the line of the canal preparatory to extensive operations. The Morton to run between Neenah and Grand Chute is nearly completed at the latter place. The John Mitchell plies regularly on Lake Winnebago. A new spar dam will be built at the Croche; the contractors at Cedar Rapids have commenced operations.” — (Green Bay Advocate, June 26, 1851.)
“The work at the Kaukauna, is going on finely — about 80 men being at work and some 200 rods of canal cut out. The Indiana runs well and is under the management of Captain Buttershill. The Morton brought up 50 more wheelbarrows for the improvement at Kaukauna, making 200 that have arrived here within a few weeks.” — (Green Bay Advocate, July 31, 1851.)
“The Indiana Sunk. — The Fox river steamer Indiana struck a rock near Bridgeport on Thursday of last week and was injured so much that all hopes of raising her have been abandoned. Her owner, Mr. Goodell, is now taking out her engine, furniture and all the valuable material to be used in the construction of a new boat.” — (Green Bay Advocate, September 18, 1851.)
In April, 1852, the Fox river improvement bill was passed by the legislature, was vetoed by the governor and was passed 39 to 18 over his veto. The Green Bay, Milwaukee and Chicago railway was incorporated in 1851. The Green Bay, Depere and Madison and the Milwaukee, Fond du Lac railways were established in 1853 .
In June, 1853, installments on the stock of the Wolf Lake and Fox River railroad were called for by W. Scott, secretary .
“Fourth of July. — The steamer Morgan L. Martin goes to Kaukauna on the Fourth. We hope our citizens will give her a good benefit, as we cannot imagine a more pleasant way to spend a few dimes and enjoy the Fourth in a patriotic way than a trip to Kaukauna in this fine boat.” — (Green Bay Advocate, June, 1853). Whitney was captain; fare was 50 cents each way .
By the summer of 1853 improvement on the lower Fox river from Green Bay to Kaukauna was practically completed. At Little Chute the work was about two-thirds done. At Grand Chute the canal excavation for one and a half miles was completed. The law of 1852 authorized the issue of “Fox river scrip” which circulated to a considerable amount in this county. The Peytonia steamer ran on Lake Winnebago with Captain Hoteling in command. The old newspapers of this date are filled with calls for laborers on the canal at Kaukauna, Little Chute, Cedar Rapids and Grand Chute, by the Fox and Wisconsin Improvement Company. Early boats (1850 to 1853) to run on Fox river were Pioneer and Indiana and others. Mr. Goodall was superintendent of one line. The Enterprise and Oneonta ran from Fort Winnebago to Galena .
Early in 1854 the state legislature provided for mail routes from Appleton via Hortonville, New London and Manchester to Waupaca; also for a daily mail service winter and summer from Fond du Lac via Appleton to Green Bay .
The steamboats plying upon the Fox River early in the ’50s charged 18 cents per hundred for carrying freight from Green Bay to Appleton. At this time Peak & Chappell were steamboat owners. Many settlers from the eastern states were coming to this county and it was announced that freight from New York City to Green Bay would be 55 cents per hundred .
In April the steamboat Pioneer made daily trips between Kaukauna and Green Bay. The Peytona ran from Menasha to Fond du Lac and stages connected Menasha with Kaukauna via Appleton. The steamer M. L. Martin was being repaired and was soon to run between Green Bay and Kaukauna. Elisha Morrow was her proprietor at this time. “If our plank road is pushed forward to Wolf river as rapidly as we anticipate all the fall goods for the Wisconsin pineries will go through this place.” — (Crescent, April 6, 1854.)
“The Fox River Improvement Company have let the mason work for the canal locks at this place to Mr. Gill, who has nearly finished the job of building the stone work of the large five-story building of the Lawrence University. Mr. Gill will commence operations with a large force in a week or two if the weather is fair for putting on the cap stone to his present job. There are four locks at this point (The Grand Chute Rapids) to be completed this season. The timber has been mostly on the ground for a year and a large share of the stone for the third and fourth locks and the miter sills for the second lock were laid last week and the carpenters are also at work upon the first. A railway track has been constructed from the quarry down to the second lock and stone can be transported as required by the workmen. These locks are to be 160 feet in length by 40 feet in width and will require some 4,000 cords of stone for their construction. Large as is the amount of work to be done, from the known ability of all concerned we shall look for an early and well-finished line of ship canals.” — (Crescent, May, 1854.)
“Grand Chutes Rapids Improvement. — Already have the upper two locks begun to assume shipshape and the awful music of the third lock tells us of some monster growlingly at work. The cars take down from the quarry to the second lock some eight cords of stone to the load and the machine and carpenter work begins to show itself from a distance. The contract for the spars of the dam is ready to be let, if it has not already been, and here and below the work is going ahead under the efficient and untiring superintendence of Mr. Conkey.” (Crescent, June, 1854.)
It was admitted in 1854 that the greatest obstruction to navigation on the lower Fox river was at Kaukauna Rapids, eight miles below Appleton. The building of the canal and locks was commenced there three years before and excavation was done and mate- rial delivered, but for some reason not clear the work was retarded and remained unfinished. Kaukauna was admitted to be a beautiful and appropriate site for a prosperous village and the delay was regretted. Springville, which adjoined at the foot of the rapids and near the steamboat landing, was likewise a beautiful location. All this locality, it was predicted, was destined to be a prosperous village. In July, 1854, the public demanded a semi-weekly mail route from Appleton via Hortonville to Waupaca; also one from Appleton via Oneida to Green Bay. Other weekly mails connecting the new settlements with Appleton were also demanded .
The following is a summary of the river improvements up to August 5, 1854: At Kaukauna the four locks were completed, the walls of the fifth half up and twenty men in sixty days were expected to complete the work except on one dam where forty men could complete it in one month. At Little Chute the excavations were expected to be completed in six weeks; also the two unfinished locks at the same time with the present force of one hundred and fifty men. Two locks were already completed. At Cedar Rapids twenty-five men were employed and were expected to finish by October 1. At Grand Chute one hundred and fifty men were expected to complete the entire work by December 1. The bed timbers of the lower dam were laid and work would have been completed had there not been a delay in furnishing stone. Letcher and Ladd had contracted for a portion of the dam. They had one hundred men at work .
Work on the Grand Chute dam was commenced in earnest about the middle of August, 1854. Already 3,500 cords of stone were quarried and deposited there and only 400 cords more were required. The Improvement Company at this time were rapidly pushing work on the dams at Appleton, Little Chute and Kaukauna .
The bill giving power to the River Improvement Company to locate about 159,000 acres of land, the amount due them under the grant made in 1846, passed both houses of Congress and was approved August 3, 1854. This was not an additional grant, but was merely to supply a deficiency in the original grant. This act gave the company power to locate land in any portion of the state. The “even sections” were thus brought into market much to the joy of settlers who had located numerously thereon. Much credit was given to Senator Walker and representative Eastman in Congress It demanded a mail route from for their efforts in behalf of this bill .
In August, 1854, the Crescent complained of the lack of mail facilities throughout the county. It demanded a mail route from Green Bay via Oneida, Freedom and Centre to Appleton. It further stated that 10,000 people would be accommodated by a mail route from Appleton via Hortonville to Waupaca. The paper declared that Outagamie county was neglected by the Post Office department and insisted on having relief. By August 26, 1854, the foundation of the dam at Grand Chute was laid, although the workmen were required to operate in water up to their waists. By the first of September, 1854, the improvement dam at Little Chute was nearly completed. The lower dam at the foot of Grand Chute Rapids was well advanced across the river. At the upper dam the bed timbers were placed and bolted to the rock and cross timbers were extended part of the way across. Each of the dams was about 600 feet in length and from 6 to 10 feet high.
In September, 1854, the following new mail routes were established: From Appleton via Centre and Ellington to Bovina; from Appleton to Waupaca; from Green Bay via Oneida and Lansing to Appleton. “Our county has filled up wonderfully within the last eight months and yet 7,000 people are without any mail facilities or the few routes which pass within reaching distance are not what they need. Several new post offices are absolutely needed. Will the postmaster general devote twenty minutes time to this county?” — (Crescent.)
Late in September, 1854, it was announced that the improvements along the river were so nearly completed that no damage could be done if winter should set in suddenly. The dams were nearly all finished. At the Upper Chute the dam had been extended across the river and a large force were at work on the upper lock.
A feature of this locality which attracted much attention in 1854 was the fact that although the drought during the summer was excessive, the water power in the river did not diminish in the least. This fact attracted the attention of capitalists everywhere who desired to make permanent investments. “The completion of the Grand Chute dam, which will be six feet in height, making in addition to the present natural fall of four feet a minimum head of ten feet, will afford water power to drive all of the mills and factories of a dozen Lowells and Rochesters. Add to this that our river never rises or falls but two or three feet during the year and one cannot dispute that we have the best and noblest river in the world for driving all kinds of mills and machinery.” — (Crescent, September, 1854.)
Late in 1854 there were running on the lower Fox river six steamboats; there was enough business to keep them all more than busy. In 1854 it was argued that the lower Fox River valley could secure produce from abroad over what was called the Collingwood route. Steamers were run from Greenville to Collingwood and met there the Canadian Railway which connected directly with all the Eastern cities. It was agreed that there should be tri-weekly trips between Greenville and Collingwood. Goods, wares and merchandise would be carried at the same rate as over the old route and in six days less time than from New York or Boston. John Dey and brother of Greenville were agents of this road.
At a meeting of the stockholders of the Fox and Wisconsin Improvement Company held at Green Bay in January, 1855, among the directors elected were the following: Erastus Corning, Horatio Seymour and Hiram Barney of New York, Otto Morgan, S. Martin, Theodore Conkey and Edward Conklin of Wisconsin were duly elected directors of the company. Erastus Corning was chosen president of the board of directors. A fleet of logs numbering 35,000 feet broke from its anchorage two miles above Grand Chute early in July, 1855, and came down with a rush upon the dam. It cost the owners $500 to recover them. They were owned by P. G. H. Perry, Jackson Tibbits and William D. Reynolds.
During the winter of 1854-5 a heavy force worked on the river improvement at Appleton and vicinity. A large amount of work was done. Mr. Barker built gates for the four locks; each gate cost approximately $1,500. It was necessary to construct many wagon tracks and other improvements to facilitate the work. Hundreds of laborers on the river improvements necessarily lived temporarily in Appleton and other villages along the river.
Early in 1855 the Improvement Company commenced work on its new quarry just below the Grand Chute dam. The stone taken out was Galena limestone of an excellent quality. This was used in the construction of the various dams. A track 1,000 feet long was projected from the lock along the river side of the pier works to the quarry, so that the stone could be easily obtained by the building community. At this date good building stone was worth from $4 to $5 per cord. It was measured by the cord then, and not by the perch.
By joint resolution of March 3, 1855, the various river improvement companies obtained five instead of three sections in width upon each side of the river and lakes through which such improvement passed following the meanderings. This involved the following towns in Outagamie county: Town 21 and 22, range 17; towns 21 and 22, range 18; towns 21, 22 and 23, range 19; towns 20 and 21, range 16. It was believed at the time that this new grant was worth approximately $1,500,000, and that within a short time Appleton would be placed in communication with Buffalo, the East, and the whole Mississippi valley by steam navigation.
“The Minnesota Railroad will probably run through or touch the town of Freedom. It is receiving quite an accession to its population. Like other back towns there is very little slack ground in Freedom.”
In 1855 there was such a lack of small currency here as to force the Improvement Company to pay for material and labor with orders on the treasurer of that company. Merchants accepted these orders at a considerable discount and there was much complaint, because it was argued that inasmuch as the bills were really drafts on New York they should be good for their face value. They were really sight drafts on the New York office. The company was the wealthiest one in Wisconsin at the least estimate. Why then, it was asked, should its paper be discounted at large percentages? To all business men their paper was really better than ordinary bank currency.
During 1855 there was much complaint because the canals on the Lower Fox were not completed and opened. When the situation was examined, however, it was learned that the delay was both necessitated and unavoidable. The long winter interfered with the work, compelling all to labor under continual disadvantages. The unprecedented depth of the snow occasioned a vast volume of water which stopped operations in the spring. It was charged also that delay was occasioned by work which was slighted by the constructors on previous occasions. The dry weather which succeeded the spring freshet demonstrated that the dam at Little Kaukauna would have to be changed in order to meet the changes of water. Large quantities of freight were portaged around Kaukauna during the whole of May. Twenty-five teams were regularly employed by forwarding merchants.
The air-line railway from Milwaukee to Fond du Lac, thence to Oshkosh, was certain to come to Appleton, it was argued, and probably go on to Green Bay. The question of voting bonds was thoroughly discussed during the winter of 1855-6.
Late in 1855 a railway was projected from Oshkosh via Appleton and Shawano, to Lake Superior. This seemed certain to give Appleton railway facilities at an early date. The citizens of Outagamie county, particularly of Appleton, were urged to come forward and subscribe for stock in this road. Twenty-six miles of railway from Oshkosh would give Appleton the new road. It was urged that if Appleton did not give the needed assistance the road would be projected along some other route. The road fully equipped from Oshkosh to Appleton would cost about $400,000, of which one-half, it was figured, would have to be raised in Oshkosh, Neenah and Appleton.
In October, 1855, stages ran regularly from Appleton to Green Bay. In April, 1856, the steamers began running regularly between Green Bay and Kaukauna. A little later they reached Appleton and still later they passed through to Lake Winnebago. It was announced in May, 1856, that the locomotive would reach Oshkosh by about January, 1857. It was then believed that during the latter part of 1857 cars would be running to Appleton. The people were enthusiastic and overjoyed at this announcement.
The little steamer Menominee, which had been built on the Shioc river in Outagamie county, made weekly trips between Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and New London. It was announced late in May, 1856, that the railroad between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh was being built as rapidly as men and money could do it. It was now seen that Appleton was certainly to have a railroad within a comparatively short time.
In the summer of 1856 a railroad, strongly talked of, was planned to extend from Newport via Berlin, Winneconne, Neenah and Appleton to Green Bay. This road was projected to intersect the Milwaukee and La Crosse road at Berlin. At this time there were many railroad projects in Wisconsin and it became evident that Appleton soon would have a railroad. By May, 1856, it seemed that Appleton would soon have the Chicago and Fond du Lac Railroad which had almost reached Oshkosh. It was believed that Green Bay and Appleton would soon be connected by rail. It was thought that Appleton would be a point on the Minnesota and Green Bay road. In addition the Manitowoc and Mississippi Railroad Company designed to reach Appleton and there intersect the other roads which were aiming for this point. It was thus believed that Appleton would soon be the leading railroad center of the Lower Fox river valley.
During the sumnmer of 1856 the merchants along Fox river were urged to secure goods in the east and have them brought west over the Collingwood route. The steamer Louisiana ran from Green Bay to Collingwood. However, the merchants would not take the advice but continued to trade by way of the steamers on Lake Michigan.
On June 4, 1856, the steam tug Ajax arrived at Appleton from Green Bay, having worked her way through Fox River and the lakes and canals, around the rapids at Kaukauna, Little Chute and Cedar Rapids, as well as around one of the lower locks at Appleton. The Pioneer followed it, arriving at Appleton about June 5. The Aquila came down froml Berlin about the same time and all three vessels united in blowing their steam whistles at the same time to celebrate the event.
“Passing the Locks. — One of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen was the meeting of the steamer Pioneer, from Green Bay, and the steamer Aquila, from the Upper Fox, on Monday morning, just above the locks and dams at Appleton. The Pioneer had just left the last lock as the Aquila came around the point into the basin. Both shores were swarming with people; hundreds lined the banks of the canal cheering, and the band on each boat discoursed eloquent strains of music while flags and banners were flying and the steam whistles were screaming with delight. Altogether it was quite a sight — the marriage of the waters of the Mississippi with Lake Michigan. Both boats, stopped to exchange greetings. The Menasha brass band and the Appleton Saxe Horn band, heading a large delegation from Appleton, Neenah and Menasha went on board the Aquila and passed down Fox river to Green Bay, where all were duly welcomed with great ceremony by the city officials and by a speech from James H. Howe.” — (Crescent.)
At a large railroad meeting held in Appleton at the courthouse on June 4, William H. Sampson was chosen president, and Samuel Ryan, Jr., secretary. The object of the meeting was to express the views of the people in reference to obtaining railroad connections with Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Chicago. A long series of resolutions was adopted, showing that the people here desired above all things the extension of this road to Appleton. A steamboat line, owned and conducted by Fitzgerald & Co., plied regularly on Fox river and Lake Winnebago. Every day the boats of this company passed over this route.
In the summer of 1856, Reeder Smith, aided by a portion of the people of Appleton, repaired that portion of the river bridge which was swept away by the high water in the winter, and constructed a float across the canal at the point where it ran through the plank road. To keep the bridge and float in repair he established a toll gate under the bridge company’s charter. This gave rise to strife, contention and law suits. It was insisted that in order to end this strife the city should take possession of the bridge and pay the cost of its construction.
Late in October, 1856, Appleton, Neenah and Menasha saw cause for great rejoicing. The land grant for a railroad from Fond du Lac via Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha and Appleton, to Lake Superior became a law. Credit was given to P. H. Smith for the passage of this bill. It was now believed that Appleton would have the railroad within a few months. Upon his return from the legislature P. H. Smith was given a handsome ovation by the people of Appleton. Among the directors of the Fond du Lac, Appleton and Lake Superior Railroad were Anson Ballard of Appleton and J. D. Doty of Menasha.
Late in October, 1856, the engineers surveyed the railroad route from Oshkosh to Appleton; the distance was seventeen miles. The line was projected onward from Appleton to Howard. This was called the Chicago & Fond du Lac Railroad. The Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad was changed so that its projected line extended through Appleton. In the summer of 1856, there was much excitement in this locality over the various proposed railroads. In November, 1856, a large exploring party consisting of twenty-five engineers in the employ of the Lake Superior Railroad left Appleton for the northern part of the state to examine various projected routes for railroad lines.
Early in 1857 it was realized that if Appleton expected to assist railroad enterprises as she desired, it would be necessary to obtain a city charter and secure authority to issue bonds or sell city credit. There thus arose at this time a strong demand for a city government. Late in January, 1857, it seemed certain that the Lake Superior Railroad and the Green Bay Railroad would cross each other at Appleton or near that city. For several days late in January, 1857, the Second ward bridge was in great danger of being swept away by water and ice which collected above it. Through the exertions of the citizens the bridge was at length saved. The water backed up fully six feet higher than usual, flooding the plank road on the south side of the river and several of the mills on the north side. The Appleton Belle was the name of a new steamer finished at Pittsburg early in 1857 for the Lake Winnebago and Fox river trade. It was expected to reach Appleton by May.
In February, 1857, there was much talk of obtaining special authority from the legislature to permit Outagamie county to take stock in certain railroad enterprises. Among the railroads mentioned which might be assisted to the benefit of the county were the Lake Superior, the Green Bay, the Chicago & Fond du Lac, the Ft. Howard, the Sheboygan, the Wolf River Straight and various other projected lines. In this connection it was urged that if Appleton should ever succeed in becoming a railroad center the village must become incorporated as a city and must be given power to assist, within proper limitations, the construction of various railroad lines which aimed to pass through this portion of the state.
In March a railroad from Appleton via Wolf river to Wausau on the Upper Wisconsin, was strongly talked of. It would be difficult to mention all the lines proposed during this period of railroad enterprise. In March, the superintendent gave notice that steamers would be permitted to pass from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay on April 13. All business men made preparations for a large river trade this year. The river improvements were nearly ready, the locks and canals were in good condition and the season was promising and bright.
On April 4, books of subscription to the stock of the Sheboygan & Appleton Railroad were opened in Appleton. The company designed to construct a road from Appleton via New London to Superior City. Already the route had been surveyed and all preliminary steps taken to carry the project into effect. It was expected that this county would furnish the mnoney to build the road from Appleton to Wolf river.
It was announced on April 11, that about $30,000 worth of stock for the Appleton and New London Railroad was subscribed or promised here within a few days without extra effort. One man took as high as $5,000 of stock. It was stated that the people of Appleton were in earnest and determined to have the road. The Chicago & Lake Superior Railroad Company contracted with C. C. Sholes for the construction of a line of telegraph from Janesville via Watertown, Fond du Lac and Oshkosh to the city of Appleton. It was announced that the line would soon be built and that Appleton would thus be connected by electricity with the outside world.
In April, the steamers M. L. Martin (Captain Ball) and Aquila passed through Neenah to Green Bay. The latter designed to make daily trips between Kaukauna and Green Bay and to connect with the stages coming to Appleton from Oshkosh and Fond du Lac. This spring the water in Lake Winnebago was three feet higher than usual. At Appleton floods never troubled the improvements in the river. Messrs. Neff & Co. owned one of the river boats. The Oshkosh City, Queen City, Eureka, Pearl, and W. A. Knapp were actively engaged plying on Lake Winnebago and the adjacent rivers.
In May the citizens of Appleton raised the sum of $100 to procure a set of colors for the new steamer “Appleton Belle” which was soon to make its appearance on the river. In May, the citizens of Appleton and vicinity were urged to take at once $15,000 worth of stock in the Appleton and Wausau Railroad. Small subscriptions from $100 to $500 were urged upon all. The appeal was urgent because it was argued that the road would go elsewhere unless the subscription was made.
Late in May, C. H. and W. J. Green established a daily line of steamers for passengers and freight between Green Bay and Fond du Lac, the Appleton Belle and Aquila being placed on this route. The boats left Appleton about one o’clock every day. This was called the People’s Line and did an excellent business. It was announced in June that Appleton would be the northern terminus of the Chicago and Lake Superior railroad. At a later date, it was said, the road could be extended westward or northward.
In June the steamer Aquila struck the bar in Lake Winnebago when the wind was blowing a gale. She filled rapidly and soon sank in four to six feet of water. The Oshkosh City near at hand took the passengers on board and the Liberty immediately took the place of the Aquila so that not a trip was lost. The Aquila was immediately raised and placed in service again. The colors were presented to the Appleton Belle by Mr. Hudd, who made a brief speech to which response was made by Judge Cotton on behalf of the officers of the boat. The colors were run up amid the booming of cannon and the shouts of the multitude.
In July a terrible steamboat explosion occurred near Oshkosh. The steamers Berlin City and Pearl left that city, the former bound for Berlin and the latter for New London. When they left the city together they began racing and when within a mile of Lake Butte des Morts, the boilers of the Berlin City exploded, tearing the boat to pieces, killing several persons and wounding nearly every one else on board. Some twenty-five or thirty persons were thus injured. Miss Maggie Carhart of Appleton was shockingly scalded and died at Appleton a few days later. Her mother and sister were also on board and were slightly injured.
The Appleton Belle came from Fond du Lac bound for Green Bay at 11 o’clock every morning. It having been reported that the steamboats on Fox river and Lake Winnebago were in the habit of racing, a card was issued in the papers, July 11, 1857, signed by C. H. and W. J. Greene, Joseph Nixon and Thomas J. Cotton, denying that such was a fact. They claimed that the boats ran in conformity to the law and were not allowed to race under any circumstances. However, there was abundant evidence from residents along ithe river to show that the officers of the boat transcended instructions and occasionally ran races. Late in July engineers were engaged in surveying the route of a railroad from Green Bay to Appleton to connect there with the Main Trunk Railway extending to Lake Superior and with the proposed railroad from Appleton to Wausau. In July the Chicago and Fond du Lac Railroad chartered several steamers to run on Fox and Wolf rivers in connection with their line when it should be completed to Fond du Lac. At this time the company was grading rapidly between Fond du Lac to Oshkosh. Appleton was in ecstasy over the anticipated arrival of the cars here at an early date.
It was positively announced about the middle of August, 1857, that the railroad survey from Oshkosh to Green Bay passing through Appleton and crossing Fox river at Little Kaukauna was completed and that the route was shown to be practicable. From Appleton to Kaukauna the line was nearly a dead level. To show something of the commerce of Appleton the Crescent, of August 1, 1857, stated that during the past month the steamboat arrivals had numbered twenty-four per week, or about one hundred for the entire month of July. “If five years ago a man had predicted any such scene as five steamers at Appleton at one time he would have been laughted at and ridiculed.”
About the middle of September, 1857, a large railroad meeting -was held at the Crescent hotel, Appleton, to take measures to secure for Appleton the location of a railroad from Green Bay to Madison or from any other point south or west. Nearly all the prominent citizens took part in this meeting. The Appleton Belle, Aquila and Morgan L. Martin were three boats engaged in the Fox river traffic during 1857. The Appleton Belle went into winter quarters in November, 1857, at Appleton. Its commander was Captain Nixon who expected to locate here permanently.
It was announced early in November, 1857, that the dam and lock at Little Kaukauna were completed and in daily use by the steamers of Green Bay on their way to the Upper Fox and Wolf rivers. Much credit was given Chief Engineer Jenne for having carried the work rapidly to its conclusion. As soon as this dam and lock were finished there was slack water navigation from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay. The dam threw the water back to the Croche Dam, entirely overcame the Rapid De Croche, and furnished abundant water for all purposes of steam navigation in any and every stage of water on the river. This improvement thus overcame the various rapids of the lower Fox river and securing uninterrupted steamboat navigation for almost eight months of the year. The Crescent of December. 26, said: “Our railroad prospects are exceedingly brilliant. Until the car actually runs into Appleton from Chicago, an event which will not be long delayed, steamers and stages will connect this city with the railroad.”
By the middle of December the railroad between Ripon and Omro was being constructed. From the last named point it was intended to extend the line directly to Neenah, thence to Appleton, to connect with the Lake Superior Line.
By 1857 the following railroads had been projected across Outagamie county: The main Trunk railway to Lake Superior, the Appleton, Wausau and Superior City railroad, both of which had been surveyed; the Green Bay, Appleton and Madison railroad, which was being surveyed at that time. A few additional ones were projected, but they were not shown on the map. In 1857 the tolls collected on the Fox and Wisconsin improvements at Appleton amounted to $3,372.23; in 1858 the collections were $5,863.35.
In February, 1858, the Milwaukee and Horicon Railroad and Steamboat Line advertised the only direct and reliable route through northern and northwestern Wisconsin. Two express passenger trains daily between Milwaukee and Berlin connected at Berlin with the company’s own line of steamers — Pearl, Oshkosh City, W. A. Knapp, Peytonia, Eureka, and Menominee — and ran thence to and from Eureka, Omro, Butte des Morts, Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Fremont, Gill’s Landing, New London, and all other accessible points on the Fox and Wolf rivers and Lake Winnebago. With a full equipment of cars and the full supply of steamers and barges the company guaranteed quick transportation of both passengers and freight.
It was announced early in March that railroad cars would soon reach Oshkosh only eighteen and one-half miles distant from Appleton. This was good news to all the people in this county.
The locks and canals on Fox river were open for boats March 12, 1858. At the same time it was announced that the Upper Fox was open to steamers which could. go within three miles of Portage City. Communication from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river was thus seen to be a problem of the near future. In the spring of 1858 the Appleton Belle was the favorite steamer for passengers between Green Bay and Lake Winnebago. Invariably it was loaded with all the freight and passengers it could carry.
By the first of April boats were running regularly on Lake Winnebago. They had not come down the river yet as far as Green Bay owing to the enlargement of the canal at Menasha. Stages continued to run to Green Bay. In April, 1858, it was announced that the Wisconsin & Superior Railroad was definitely located from Fond du Lac to the city of Appleton. The road later was called the Superior and Fond du Lac, and still later the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. It was stated by the Crescent, May 15, 1858, that there were on an average at that time twenty-four steamboat arrivals and as many departures every week from Appleton. This city was connected with Green Bay and all the lake ports on the east andi with Portage City, Prairie du Chien and all Mississippi points on the west.
In May, 1858, the Berlin City, a new river steamer, made her appearance here for the first time. Reuben Doud was captain of this vessel. She ran in connection with the Appleton Belle. The Fox River Improvement Company subscribed $40 per mile to the stock of the telegraph line from Oshkosh to Green Bay. This subscription insured the utility and active operation of that line.
Late in the fall two independent stage lines ran regularly between Oshkosh and Green Bay via Appleton. The two lines fought for supremacy and in order to secure the trade the fare at one time from Appleton to Green Bay was reduced to 25 cents. Among the mail routes established at this date was a daily mail each way from Fond du Lac to Green Bay, via Appleton. Another extended from Menasha via Appleton to Hortonville. In July while crossing Fox river in a boat a short distance above the Croche Dam, three men met with an accident and were swept by the current over the dam. A young man at the peril of his life hurried to their relief and rescued one of them, who proved to be his own father. The other two were drowned and some days later their bodies were found below the dam. The Crescent stated in June that Fox river was then higher than ever known before in the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. No serious damage was done, but many dams and other improvements were in serious danger until reinforced by gangs of workmen and citizens.
It was announced late in July that the railroad would soon be completed to Oshkosh. This news was hailed with great pleasure by Appletonians. They realized that within a short time thereafter the line would be extended to Appleton. It was stated that as soon as cars should arrive at Oshkosh passenger boats would connect with them bound for Green Bay via Appleton. On July 31, 1858, it was announced that cars had reached Oshkosh from Chicago and that the track down to the river was then being laid. It was further stated that the next section to be built would extend from Oshkosh to Appleton.
The Act of Congress approved June 14, 1858, established a postoffice route from Appleton to Copper Harbor on Lake Superior. It extended through the towns of Greenville, Hortonia and Embarrass in this county. The Berlin City ran out of the channel in August just below Appleton, struck a rock and sank in shallow water. She was immediately raised, taken to Underwood’s dry dock at Menasha, repaired in short order and in a few days was making her regular trips. The steamer Pioneer under Captain Brown, ran from Oshkosh to Appleton, in September, 1858, leaving the latter at 6 o’clock in the morning and leaving Oshkosh on her return trip after the arrival of the noon train at that point.
In October Perry H. Smith of Appleton was elected one of the directors of the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad Company. Passengers who left Green Bay for Appleton in the morning could take the cars at Oshkosh in the afternoon and reach Chicago the same night. This was a great convenience and was fully appreciated by this city. It was stated early in September that the river was so low that the boats occasionally rubbed each other in passing through the Menasha channel.
In November the old office of the Improvement company was removed from Fond du Lac to Appleton where it was permanently located under the supervision of D. C. Jenne. This old office was one of the most important in the state. Upon the close of navigation and the stoppage of boats along the canal and river in 1858 two separate lines of stages between Appleton and Oshkosh and between Appleton and Green Bay were put on. Appleton was made a central point of the two systems. The stage which left here at 6 o’clock in the morning connected with the afternoon train at Oshkosh. Upon returning the stage left Oshkosh in the morning and reached Appleton about noon.
In March, 1859, the Wisconsin Stage Company chartered a fast steamer to run between Appleton and Oshkosh during the coming season in connection with a line of steamers from Appleton to Green Bay. By this means passengers could take the stage at Green Bay in the morning, catch the boat at Appleton and reach Oshkosh in time for the noon train. In March the steamer Petonia was crushed between two large bodies of ice in Lake Poyegan and sank in less than a minute. It was the best boat in all respects ever built on Lake Winnebago or Fox river. For years it was used and was considered staunch and reliable. This loss was greatly regretted.
The steamer Appleton Bell passed down the river late in May with 450 barrels of flour besides a large quantity of other freight. This was considered a large load owing to the low stage of water. Proposals for carrying the mail weekly from Appleton to Shawano via Center, Black Creek and Osceola City, were received in March, at the postoffice department in Washington. In March it was reported on good authority that the railroad would be extended from Oshkosh to Appleton in 1859. This caused great rejoicing throughout this county. The legislature in 1859 changed the session of the circuit court from April to June.
In April, 1859, passengers could leave Milwaukee in the morning, take a Berlin City or Appleton bus at Oshkosh at 8 o’clock and eat dinner in Appleton. A morning boat leaving Menominee connected with the morning train from Oshkosh to all parts of the northern country. Passengers could leave Appleton by a morning boat and eat supper in Chicago. The Chicago, Fond du Lac and St. Paul Railroad became involved financially and was sold in June. It was purchased by responsible persons and the announcement was promptly issued that construction work would be resumed immediately. This caused great rejoicing in Appleton.
Work on the railroad between Janesville and the Junction was progressing rapidly in June, 1859. It was announced that cars would reach Watertown from the north in a few weeks and that by the first of October the gap would be closed and the first train would be run from Oshkosh to Chicago. The Sheboygan railroad was slowly extending its arm toward Appleton. It was announced that work in Calumet county on that line would be soon commenced and that Fox river would be reached within a year or so. In June Appleton was in daily communication with Green Bay on the one hand and the towns of the Upper Fox and Wolf rivers on the other by the first class steamers Appleton Belle, Berlin City, Menominee, and others.
In June the proprietors of the Central Water Power Company prepared to build a new and substantial dam near the Second ward river bridge and to extend it to the center of the river. They determined to afford water power at a lower price than it had been secured elsewhere in the state. They also began to quarry in the bed of the river and get out building stone which was used by the people of Appleton in constructive work.
The Flint and Marquette railroad, and the Manitowoc and Sheboygan road were being constructed at this time. They united with a line of steamers which plied across Lake Michigan. It was announced that Appleton would be connected with these lines. In July, 1859, a new daily steamboat line was put in operation from Appleton to New London, connecting at Oshkosh with the steamer Knapp for Berlin and with cars to all parts of the country. To these lines belonged the steamers Pearl and Menominee.
On August 22, the citizens of Appleton were asked to vote upon the question of loaning the credit of the city to the amount of $25,000 to aid in the construction of the railroad from Appleton to Oshkosh. The newspapers urged the citizens to vote in favor of the loan.
The grading of the railroad from Oshkosh to Appleton was rapidly being pushed forward in October, 1859.
“The Railroad; The Breaking Ground; A Great Day for Appleton. — On Wednesday last the number of about 120 citizens of Appleton and Neenah — merchants, mechanics, manufacturers, lawyers and business men — repaired to the city line to which point the railroad had already been cut out and graded for a quarter of a mile by the force under Mr. Fitzgerald contractor to the railroad between Appleton and Neenah, and spent the day in clearing the road thence to Mud Creek, a short distance from the county line. The party had a regular barbecue dinner of roast ox and the necessary fixings, and when we reached them at 3 p. m. were in high good humor with all the world. The party did a large day’s work, having cleared over a mile of track and returned to their homes in the evening with clear consciences. In the evening Grand Chute band, one of the best in the state, together with a crowd of citizens turned out and gave Mr. Palmer, the chief engineer of the road, a handsome greeting. Mr. Palmer briefly returned thanks for the honor conferred upon him.
In October, 1859, half a dozen steamers and as many barges were busily engaged in transporting grain and flour from Appleton to market. This trade was much larger than people usually thought possible. Many barrels of flour and thousands of bushels of wheat were carried away over this route.
According to the Motor the vote on the issuance of $25,000 bonds for the railroad from Oshkosh to Appleton showed there were only 9 votes polled in opposition to that proposition.
At a meeting of the directors of the Neenah & Wolf River Railroad held in Neenah December 1, 1859, the following officers were elected: Reeder Smith, president; A. H. Cronkhite, treasurer; J. B. Hamilton, secretary; Col. J. M. Palmer, chief engineer; J. B. Hamilton, attorney. Books of subscription were opened and $10,000 worth of stock was immediately subscribed.
In June, the Appleton Belle which had for so long run on the river here was transferred to the Mississippi. Among the prominent persons to visit Appleton in the summer of 1860 were Silas Wright of New York, ex-Governor Bashford, ex-Attorney General Bouck, Judge Wheeler and Judge Cotton. The Pearl, a swift and tidy steamer took the place of the Appleton Bell in 1860, on the passenger line from Oshkosh to Green Bay.
In July, 1860, the citizens of Appleton voted on the question of aiding the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad to the amount of $20,000 in the extension of the road from Oshkosh to Appleton. The vote was as follows: First ward — for the aid 73, against it 1; Second ward — for the aid 134, against it 5; Third ward — for the aid 72, against it 3. Total for the aid 279, against it 9. At a railroad meeting held late in August there was adopted a resolution to secure a change in the act passed by the last legislature for the issuance of railroad bonds. The citizens wanted more latitude because they wanted to issue still more bonds in order to secure greater railroad facilities. In 1860 the Motor and Crescent began to publish the timetable of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad from Oshkosh to Chicago. It also published the boat schedule between Oshkosh and Appleton. The steamers running at this time most actively were Berlin City and Pearl.
About the middle of September, 1860, it was announced that work was commenced in earnest on the railroad between Oshkosh and Appleton. A party of men began work near Mr. McGrath’s residence on the located route. Wells and French were the principal contractors. In October, a new steamer, Elwood, passed up the river bound for Portage City. The boat was built at Depere during the previous winter and spring. She was especially designed as a freight boat and was capable of carrying two hundred tons.
Notwithstanding winter had set in by December 1, work on the railroad progressed without interruption; as there was no frost yet in the ground this could be done. It was now seen that Appleton was bound to have a railroad within a very short period. Oshkosh opposed the extension of the railroad from that point to Appleton. When work on this branch commenced a body of workmen one evening tore up about forty rods of the track. This was a spontaneous act in response to the feeling that Oshkosh would be seriously injured and should therefore be the permanent terminus of the railroad line.
The railroad track between Oshkosh and Appleton was laid rapidly in December, and the locomotive was already several miles distant north of Oshkosh. It was announced that within a few days the track would be laid to Neenah and the locomotive would reach that point. This gave the Appletonians great pleasure.
The locomotive Appleton with a construction train attached reached Neenah early in January, 1861. The iron was being laid as fast as practicable and by the 12th of January was down within four miles of Appleton. Late in January the locomotives on the railroad which was being built south of the city could be heard at Appleton daily blowing their whistles. It was a welcome sound to Appletonians who began to make preparations for an immense celebration when the iron horse should reach the city.
“The Railway Celebration. — Everybody is in for a grand celebration of the advent of the railway, a celebration which shall do honor to Appleton. The city council will probably adopt the initiatory steps this evening. Let us not make a niggardly display for Appleton is too beautiful and promising a. city to allow a miserly spirit to prevail. Hurray for the railroad !” — (Crescent, February 9, 1861.) The heavy snows in February greatly interfered with the construction of the railroad near Appleton. During one heavy snow the citizens turned out to assist in removing it.
“Appleton in Line!” — The world moves! Look out for the engine when the bell rings! The cars have come! Railroad connection with the east, west, north and south! O, believe me, this is pleasant riding on a rail! We take great pleasure in announcing to the world in general that the Chicago & Northwestern Railway has been extended to the young and flourishing city of Appleton. The snort of the iron horse has been heard in our midst. We are connected by iron bands with east, west and south. On Wednesday last the first locomotive (the Appleton) reached the depot grounds on College avenue amidst the shouts of the multitude, the firing of guns and music by one of our city bands. The streets were crowded with people to see the long-looked for event. Every one was in high glee. It was a proud event for those who had labored and toiled amid adverse circumstances and financial difficulties to bring about the construction of this road. The name of P. H. Smith, the indomitable worker, occurred to everyone as the master mind to whose exertions we are indebted for its extension to Appleton.” — (Crescent March 2, 1861.)
In 1861 the Chicago and Northwestern Railway company was authorized to enter into arrangements for running on joint account with such divisions of earnings as could be agreed upon with the Fort Howard and Appleton and Green Bay and Madison Railroad companies or other companies connecting or intersecting its main line north of the line of the Milwaukee and Minnesota or La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad companies.
“The first passenger train arrived in Appleton at twelve o’clock AM, on the 5th of March, 1861. The engine house is being erected with all possible dispatch. Willy, Pearse & Company made the first shipment by railroad from Appleton — 100 barrels of flour –on Thursday of last week, since which time the same firm, Dunn & Brewster, F. & C. Pfennig, Barteau & Company, Richmond & Brother and others have made large shipments. The extension from Oshkosh to Appleton will do a very heavy freight business.” — (Crescent, March 9, 1861.)
“Traveling. — Since the railroad has reached Appleton the amount of travel to and fro has more than doubled. The amount of freight sent off has also very largely increased.” — ( Crescent, March 23, 1861.) It was announced in March that the boats on the river and canal for the coming season would be as follows: Wolf, commanded by Capt. Drummond; Berlin City, Captain John Lynch; Queen City, Pearl, Oshkosh City, Bay City, Fountain City and perhaps others.
Late in April, 1861, the waters of Fox river were higher than ever known here before. Many of the bridges and dams were in danger and the bridge across the island branch was already impassable for teams. By the last of April, the railroad between Oshkosh and Appleton was being ballasted and graveled with all possible dispatch. The Crescent, April 13, stated that the water in the river was now higher than it had been for many years past. It broke through the breakwater on the south end of the small bridge crossing the island, but did no damage. Several of the wing dams were threatened.
In April, West’s wing dam from Grand Chute island into the main stream was swept away by the high water, entailing a loss of about $1,000. In the summer the business on the river was very active. On one day in June there were cleared 5,100 pounds of merchandise; 3,314 barrels of flour, and 150 bushels of wheat. In June this county was particularly interested in the speedy opening of the proposed road to Lake Superior. It was argued that every farmer could afford to give from one to twenty-five dollars towards obtaining that outlet for his products.
The Bay City, Berlin City, Fountain City and other boats ran regularly between Fond du Lac and Green Bay in 1861. In the summer the steamer Eagle plied on the river between New London and Shawano. The traveler to Green Bay could take his choice between the stage coach and the steamer Fanny Fisk. There was considerable competition between the two lines and at one time the fare was as low as 25 cents for the trip.
Pursuant to call a meeting of citizens of Appleton, interested in a road to Lake Superior, was held at Adkins Hall late in September, 1861. The object of the meeting was to hear the report of T. P. Bingham, a delegate to the Lake Superior Road Convention, and to take any action deemed necessary in building the road. A committee of four, including the chairman, was appointed to wait on citizens and solicit subscriptions to the said road. This committee consisted of Messrs. Foster, Spaulding, Bingham and Hutchinson.
In November, when the boats ceased navigating the river and canals, the old stage coaches were again put on with their four and six horse teams and other usual equipments. The stages at this date furnished better accommodations than they had ever furnished before. The horses were better, but they were not treated properly and many died in service. The roads between Appleton and Green Bay were extremely bad during all time when the ground was not frozen.
The trains on the Chicago and Northwestern arrived at Appleton at five in the morning and five in the evening; and left Appleton at six in the morning and 1:40 in the afternoon. Late in 1861 it was proposed to extend the Chicago and Northwestern railroad from Appleton to Lake Superior by the way of Green Bay. This proposition received great encouragement from the people of Brown county.
The abutment on the river about a quarter of a mile from the upper bridge extending to the east bank of the Fox river was commenced in 1862, by Morey and Tallmadge, contractors. They sold out before finishing to Barstow, McNaughton & Company, who continued it, but finally sold out to Conkey and Lay, who completed the work. This Barstow of the second firm was afterwards governor of the state. Mr. Conkey was a well known citizen of Appleton. This work was especially desired by the lumbermen.
In February, 1862, it was announced that the Appleton Belle, the steamer so well known here which had been taken first to the Mississippi river and then to the Tennessee river, was burned by the rebels. The people of this community heard of the boat’s destruction with regret and felt they had lost an old friend. The first boat of the season in 1862, the Bay City, passed down in April to Green Bay from Lake Winnebago loaded with flour. E. A. Buck was one of the proprietors of the boat. The steamer Fountain City, in April, on its first trip down the river brought 140 tons of freight including 4,000 bushels of wheat. In May work of extending the Northwestern Railroad to Green Bay was commenced at Appleton. Mr. Hogan of Menasha had the contract for bridging the big ravine near the depot. The city of Green Bay voted substantial aid to the extension.
As soon as the work on the railroad extension began in May, a large number of workmen appeared and boarded in Appleton. New faces were seen on the streets daily. A number of newcomers located at Appleton and other centers in the county.
In the fall of 1862 the Northwestern Railroad Comnpany erected a large and commodious passenger station in the Second ward of Appleton. By the middle of September, 1862, nearly 800 excursionists from Appleton visited Oshkosh to pay their respects to the Twenty-first Regiment which contained many boys from this county. They were accompanied by a band and by such orators as Rev. Doe, Col. Ryan and Mr. Sweet. This party was gotten up under the auspices of the Congregational Sunday school of Appleton.
The first passenger train on the Northwestern Railroad passed from Chicago to Green Bay on November 13, 1862. A large excursion from Chicago and other towns along the line together with officers of the company, president of the Chicago board of trade and other prominent citizens came to mingle in the general rejoicing. While at Green Bay they were treated to a ride on the bay steamers. The Chicago Light Guard band furnished music and a splendid dinner was set for all at Klaus Hotel. After dinner Senator Howe addressed the audience; also Col. Alderson and Messrs. Eldridge, Doolittle, Smith, Dwyer, Munn and Bross. This was a great occasion as well for Outagamie county as for Green Bay.
Senator Hudd in January, 1863, was instrumental in having the legislature memorialize congress on the feasibility of a ship canal to the Mississippi along the Fox and Wisconsin river route.
In March, 1863, the Appleton, St. Croix River and Superior Railroad was chartered by the legislature. Among the corporators were: J. S. Buck, Peter White, M. Tompkins, T. R. Hudd, Geo. W. Spaulding, Anson Ballard, J. M. Barker, George McDonald and Byron Douglas of Appleton and others in other counties.
In April, the Appleton, St. Croix River and Superior Railroad Company was incorporated, among the incorporators being J. S. Buck, Peter White, U. B. Thompkins, T. R. Hudd, G. W. Spaulding, Anson Ballard, J. M. Barker, George McDonald and Byron Douglas of Appleton. They were authorized to build a railroad from Appleton to any point on St. Croix river and Lake Superior they might select.
Boats began running on the river regularly about the middle of April. They plied from Fond du Lac to Green Bay, and the Buck line of boats were in evidence.
In the spring of 1863 the construction of an air-line railroad from Milwaukee to Appleton and thence onward to the copper region of Lake Superior was agitated in this community. The necessity and advantage of such a line was presented in long articles in the newspapers. It was believed that Appleton would contribute a large sum for such a line. In the fall three papers of this county agitated the proposition of securing from the government an appropriation of three million dollars for the enlargement of the Fox & Wisconsin improvement so as to convert it into a ship canal connecting Lake Michigan and the Mississippi. Other newspapers in this portion of the state did likewise.
In May, 1864, the question of issuing bonds to the amount of $25,000 to be used in opening a side track from the railroad to the water power on Fox river and for the improvement of common roads throughout the county was discussed and finally voted upon. It was thought that $20,000 would be sufficient to build the side track and that the remaining $5,000 could be used for county roads. As the city’s credit was high these bonds could be sold at par or higher. Late in May the citizens of Appleton voted on the question of issuing bonds in the sum of $25,000 to build the side track. The vote stood as follows: For the bonds 225; against them 128. The people thus favored the step and the common council were asked to take steps to carry it into effect.
In January, 1864, a new stage route was extended from Appleton to New London, connecting at Young’s Corners with a stage to Waupaca.. It was stated in March, 1864, that the trustees of the Fox & Wisconsin Improvement Company had foreclosed the mortgage thereon as provided by law and would offer the same to be sold in the near future. April 20 the river boats commenced their annual trips. The Bay City brought down from Lake Winnebago 1,200 barrels of flour. The railroad also had all it could do at this time. The steamler Berlin City commanded by Capt. Lynch passed from New London to Oshkosh with 64 passengers about the middle of April, it being the first vessel through.
The Green Bay and Sarnia line of steamers suspended operation in July, 1864, owing to the low water on the upper Fox and other rivers, the vessels could not carry freight enough to pay expenses.
The council received a proposition from the railway company asking them to make certain allowances connected with the building of a side track to the water power. The committee on side track was instructed to ascertain what bonds could be sold for and also for what consideration the right of way from the railroad to the water power could be secured. In September the gas well on the farm of S. J. Roudebush, just beyond the city limits, continued to belch forth gas and smoke as it had done for some time before; but now it seemed to be a permanent institution. Mr. Roudebush prepared to use it to light and warm his house during the winter.
In January and February, 1865, the oil excitement struck Outagamie county. The citizens had heard for a long time about the fortunes made in Pennsylvania in the oil business. This caused them at this time to examine the physical features of the county. There had been considerable excitement in the fall of 1864 over the gas well of S. J. Roudebush, near the western part of Appleton. Many thought oil was at the bottom of this well. Several men from Chicago, Fond du Lac and Oshkosh visited the locality in February, examined the surroundings and expressed the belief that the indications warranted an investigation. Accordingly a company was organized with a capital of $2,400 to be increased by assessment if necessary. Among the members were A. D. Bonesteel, James G. Miller, Dr. Parker, Henry L. Blood, C. G. Adkins, J. W. Woodward, Jackson Tibbits, G. L. Robinson, E. Spencer and A. B. Jackson. The total number of shares at first was twelve. Dr. Parker was sent to Pennsylvania to secure the necessary machinery for the first operations.
A gentleman, thoroughly posted on mineral matter, made quiet investigations near Appleton early in 1865 and found several indications of copper deposits in that portion of the county. Then reports were circulated and it began generally to be believed that Appleton and vicinity were underlaid with copper beds as valuable as those in the Lake Superior region. A number of splendid specimens of copper were found in the river bed. One from Kaukauna, weighing twenty pounds, was already in the possession of Lawrence University. The oil indications and copper discoveries caused great excitement among those who failed to accept the view of the state geologist. In February men from different portions of the state came here anxious to buy copper shares in the company that was formed. As high as $1,000 bonus per share was offered and refused. The land near Mr. Roudebush’s gas well began to soar in value.
The gas well on the farm of Mr. Roudebush was originally twenty-seven feet deep, but was afterwards bored to a depth of sixty feet. From the bottom of this well the gas rushed out with a gurgling noise in large quantities. A tamarack tube conveyed the gas to the surface, where it was ignited and burned to the height of several feet. The oil excitement caused Messrs, Tibbits and Blood to lease a tract of land in the town of Dale, where there was a suspicious greasy spring resembling oil products. Other leases were made in different parts of the county.
Late in November, 1865, Townsend & Company commenced running a daily line of stages between Appleton and New London. They also ran a regular line from Oslkosh to Shawano. This gave Appleton a daily mail from Nortonville and New London. The stage left New London for Appleton at 6 o’clock in the morning, arriving in time for the passengers to make the afternoon southern train. Immediately after the arrival of the train in the morning the stage left for New London, via Hortonville. Early in 1866 the ship canal project along the Fox and Wisconsin rivers was again strongly urged upon Congress. The citizens of this county were greatly interested in this enterprise. Alexander Spaulding was one of the trustees of the Fox and Wisconsin improvement organization. It was stated that $2,000,000 would be sufficient for the purpose, but of course this was far from what in the end would be required. The newspapers and public men of Outagamie county urged this improvement with all their might.
The project of a railroad from Appleton to New London was urgently considered early in 1866. It required eight hours for a steamer to go from Oshkosh to New London. That village at this time was the receiving point of immense quantities of lumber from the upper country, and the construction of that short railroad would bring it all to Appleton. A charter was granted to that road in the spring of 1866.
At the session of the city council in April, 1866, it was resolved that for the ensuing corporate year, Mayor Richmond, Alderman Claymore, M. H. Lyon, Samuel Ryan, Jr., and J. S. Buck be and hereby are constituted a standing committee on railroads, with full power and authority to negotiate for additional railroad facilities for the city of Appleton under such restrictions and limitations as are provided by law. The Crescent was chosen as the official paper of the county.
The Oshkosh and Mississippi River Railroad Company was organized in May, 1866. Among the directors was R. Z. Mason of Appleton. The route of this proposed railroad was from Oshkosh via Ripon or Berlin to Portage City or Madison, and thence to a point on the Mississippi River opposite Dubuque, Iowa.
In May, 1866, the Appleton and New London Railway Company was incorporated, among the stockholders being E. P. Perry, Henry Ketchum, Ira Willard, Samuel Ryan, Jr., Byron Douglas, J. W. Hutchinson, James Gilmore, W. H. P. Bogan, Louis Perrot, Don E. Woodward and David Briggs. The object was to build a railroad from Appleton to New London and extend it on westward, if desired. The officers were authorized to open books for the subscription of stock; capital $300,000.
The act of June 6, 1866, authorized the mayor and council of Appleton to issue city bonds not exceeding $150,000 to aid in the construction or extension of any railroad to, through or from said city; but such bonds could not be issued until a majority of the electors had said so. A tax to meet such bonds was provided for, — enough for the interest and two per cent of the principal annually.
In June the directors of the Appleton and New London Railroad opened books of subscription at Appleton and New London, and in a short time received a considerable number of signatures. Late in 1866 passengers could leave Appleton and reach Milwaukee, going by the way of Watertown.
The River and Harbor Appropriation bill, which had passed both houses and was signed by the President in 1866, provided for a survey to connect Lake Michigan with the Wisconsin River by the enlargement to a ship canal of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers improvement. It was a step which the citizens had long hoped would be taken, but feared never would be. It was now believed that before long comparatively large vessels would be able to pass from Green Bay to the Mississippi. The oil excitement received a fresh impulse early in October, 1866. Mr. Marsh made a discovery of crude petroleum and brought samples to show what he had found, which unmistakably proved to be petroleum. It had found its way to the surface at one point and many visited the spot to verify the statement of Mr. Marsh.
The act of March 28 made it lawful for the towns through which the Appleton and New London Railway passed to issue bonds for stock in such railway, but such issue was first to be submitted to the voters.
An amendment of April 6 provided that the Appleton City Railway Company should not, at any one time, issue bonds in excess of $15,000 for each mile of railway constructed.
In 1867 the legislature memorialized Congress for a grant of lands to aid in the construction of a railway from Appleton via New London and Wausau to Ontonagon on Lake Superior. Appleton was noted for its water power; New London for its lumber interests and Wausau for its agricultural products, it was said.
By the last of March the new drawbridge over the canal in the Fourth ward was being rapidly completed by Mr. Wilson and a large force of men. A bill for the construction of the Appleton and New London Railroad passed both houses and became a law in March. The towns of the county were prepared to issue bonds for the construction of the work.
During the summer of 1867, owing to low water, the boats ceased running for a time, but late in August began their regular schedule from Berlin and Fond du Lac to Green Bay. In 1867 D. M. Kelley & Company began running a line of steamers from Berlin and Fond du Lac to Green Bay. The boats were excellent and soon they had more trade than they could accommodate.
W. S. Warner became city attorney in 1867, being re-elected by a unanimous vote of the Appleton council. His salary was increased to $300 per annum. In August the upper end of the dam on the north side of the river, south of Wilson’s foundry, was being extended 200 feet under the supervision of C. P. Riggs.
In 1867 the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad shipped from Appleton 14,248,000 pounds; the average ticket sales per month at Appleton were 2,500. The shipments consisted principally of flour, staves, wagon stock, furniture, wrapping paper, lumber and shingles.
At this time Johnson & Company were running a daily line of stages from Appleton to New London, a distance of twenty-two miles, connecting with other lines along the road. 0.Walker ran a line of stages from Appleton to Wausau, a distance of ninety miles. He owned fifty fast traveling horses and a full supply of excellent coaches.
The railway project agitated late in 1867 was to run a line from Milwaukee, via Cedarburg, Plymouth, Chilton, Menasha and Appleton to Green Bay. The line was known as the Milwaukee and Port Washington Railroad. Immediately the people of Appleton became interested in this project. The newspapers stated that Appleton stood ready to raise $50,000 for the construction of this road.
There were requests late in 1867 that the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company should put on a Sunday train between Green Bay and Oshkosh. It was stated that the travel to Appleton alone from these two points would be sufficient to warrant the change. The stage lines to the upper Wolf and upper Wisconsin regions arrived usually in time for the evening train south. Practically, there was at this time no evening train to Chicago from Green Bay, Appleton, Menasha and Neenah from Friday until the following Monday. The travel north of Oshkosh had become greater than ever and it was believed a Sunday train as suggested would be an advantage to all concerned.
The act of March 5, 1868, amended the act incorporating the Appleton and New London Railway Company by adding the following words: “Said company also shall have the right to extend its road from the city of Appleton to the village of Waupaca, via the village of New London.”
The Northwestern Railroad, in the end, declined the proposition for the construction of the side track at Appleton. The company wanted the city to build and operate it exclusively, but the city merely wanted it as a side track of that railroad in order to accommodate the industries on the Appleton water power.
A railroad committee of the council of Appleton in December, 1868, reported that the railroad from Flint and Saginaw to Pere Marquette and the Manitowoc-New London road were being advanced with reasonable dispatch. The old Manitowoc Railroad Company was re-organized as the Manitowoc & Minnesota Railroad Company. The latter intended soon to continue the road to the lower Fox River valley and Lake Winnebago, and in the end, if assisted, reach Appleton. The proposition to run the road to Menasha and Neenah and give Appleton only a branch was gall and ashes to the citizens of this county. The committee believed from what the railroad officials said that the main line of the road would come to Appleton if suitable assistance were given. The council ordered that the railroad committee be authorized to employ a competent engineer to make surveys of the grades along the Fox River where the line was expected to come. The steamers continued to run far into November, 1868, although the canal had been ordered closed. The extension of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad so as directly to connect Milwaukee and Appleton, was duly considered in 1868. This was a road greatly desired by Appleton.
A railway that was much talked of in 1869 was the Green Bay and Lake Pepin Railway. It was designed either to ascend Fox River from Green Bay and, after reaching Appleton or vicinity, to branch off and proceed to Stephensville in the northern part of the county, and thence on to New London, Wausau, etc., or to run to New London, leaving Appleton to the southward.
A permanent railroad committee of the city council appointed in 1868 was given $300 for its preliminary expenses. They made many inquiries and investigations and did much work to secure additional railway facilities for Appleton; but they could not themselves build railroads, and many found fault because they did not accomplish more than was possible for them to do.
In the election of April, 1870, the people voted on a tax to aid the Manitowoc and Duluth Railroad. It was proposed to vote $100, 000, in twenty year city bonds, at seven per cent. interest. In exchange therefor the railroad company was to give the city $100,000 in full paid certificates of its stock. As the stock would be worth no doubt $50,000 cash to the city, the actual outlay of Appleton, it was argued, would not exceed over $50,000. The proposition in the spring of 1870 was changed to the extent that the city was to pay $50,000 in twenty year bonds when the road should be completed from Manitowoc through Grand Chute Island to Appleton, and $50,000 more when the road should reach Wolf River or some other point to be determined by the engineers. The authorities of Grand Chute, Hortonia and New London expressed their willingness to aid the road to New London. In the spring of 1870 the Appleton and New London Railroad company was re-organized. At an early day the work between Manitowoc and Appleton was to be commenced. It was expected that Appleton would vote substantial aid to this line.
The total vote on the bond question in the First ward was 132, of which 88 were for the road and 44 against it. In the Second ward the total vote was 279, of which 154 was for the road and 125 against it. In the Third ward 173 votes were cast, 65 for the road and 108 against it. In the Fourth ward 81 votes were cast, of which 76 were for the road and 5 against it. The majority in favor of the bonds was 1,016. This election was held May 4, 1870.
In 1870-1 Reeder Smith brought an injunction suit against the city of Appleton to restrain it from issuing corporate bonds to aid the Appleton and New London Railway Company in exchange for the stock of the company subscribed for by the city. Judge Ellis decided that the bonds could not be legally issued; Hudd & Wigman were for plaintiff and W. S. Warner for defendant. The railway company proposed to build from Manitowoc to Appleton if Appleton would subscribe $100,000 to the capital stock, giving in exchange $100,000 of city bonds. The people ratified this action at the polls. Informality rendered the issue of bonds illegal. The railway had gone to big expense already in the faith of the action of the council. It was now declared wholly unfair not to assist the company. It was decided to vote again on the question.
“The election of Saturday last, after the hottest canvass ever known in this city, resulted in a majority ‘for the railway proposition.’ (For 443, against 392.) All that money and misrepresentation could do to induce the people to tie their own hands and leave this locality to the tender mercy of the one railroad running through Appleton was done; and all the aid that the Doty Island Land Grant manipulators could render, pecuniarily and personally, to mislead voters and defeat the true interests of this city, was openly furnished. Over such a combination the triumph is most notable. A majority of the water power interests, a majority of the manufacturing interests, a majority of the business houses voted for the railroad proposition. Let the facts be recorded. The reported majority in the city is 51. A rousing celebration followed. The future of Appleton is assured.” — (Crescent, August 5, 1871.)
From the start the construction of a railway from Manitowoc via Appleton to New London and on northwestward, was bitterly assailed, misrepresented and opposed even with the grossest falsehood and defamation. This opposition was strengthened by dissensions and hostility on the part of such men of Appleton as Anson Ballard, David Smith, A. L. Smith, the Pfennigs, Theodore Conkey, Alfred Galpin, the Whortons, E. C. Goff, G. W. Spaulding and others. All opposition, however, was withdrawn upon the adoption of an amended proposition which was accepted by the company. The new proposition late in 1871 involved the repeal of the restrictions contained in the funding bill bonds for $100,000, to be placed in Milwaukee, to be delivered $50,000 when the road should be completed to Grand Chute Island and the other $50,000 when Wolf River should be reached. This proposition was to be voted on early in 1872.
Those in Appleton who had opposed assisting the Appleton and New London Railway with $100,000 explained their reasons for this opposition in January, 1872. The opposition, they stated, grew out of the fact that the amount asked was disproportional to the equivalent proposed to be rendered and not to the railroad itself. To give $100,000 for a road from Appleton to Manltowoc, a distance of forty miles, seemed injudicious and unwise “while a proposition was pending from the Milwaukee and Northern road offering a shorter and more direct communication with Milwaukee and Chicago, and placing Appleton on a main line of the Wisconsin Central through its connections for $60,000.” In order to check this extravagance they secured during the winter the passage of the “Limitation Law,” through which the people secured the construction of twenty miles of the road from Appleton to New London in addition to the forty miles from Manitowoc to Appleton. This was done in a spirit of conciliation, though the opposition still believed the proposed connection with the Central would have been preferable. “As all our efforts to get this proposition submitted to the people of this city have been unavailing, we are reluctantly compelled to abandon for the present an enterprise which our judgments approve for one possessing inferior merit, in order to protect the city against a threatened insulation which a continued hostility might endanger.”
In 1870 the Green Bay and New London Railway Company was incorporated for the purpose of constructing a line from Green Bay across Outagamie county to New London or other point to the westward. About this time, also, the Green Bay and Lake Pepin Railroad Company was incorporated, the design being to cross Outagamie county.
In 1871 there was a shipwreck at Appleton, when the propeller Wisconsin, with a barge in tow, was swept over the river dam, the barge being at once destroyed. Both were heavily laden with tight barrel staves from Stockbridge. The loss was about $18,000.
In 1871 Appleton was asked to vote $60,000 to aid the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad.
In September, 1871, Judge Ellis dissolved the McIntosh injunction, thus leaving Appleton free to assist the New London railway. Samuel Boyd and F.W.Cotzhausen were council for the city and T. R. Hudd for the Mcintosh interest.
The first river steamers of the season passed Appleton about the middle of April, 1871–Brooklyn and Cornucopia.; these boats wintered on skids at or near KIaukauna.
The act of March 7, 1872, ratified, confirmed and legalized the action of Appleton voting July 29, 1871, to subscribe for $100,000 stock in the Appleton and New London Railway Company, and to pay for the same at par in corporate bonds of the city.
In February, 1873, the citizens of Appleton voted on the question of assisting the Milwaukee and Northern Railway Company with the following result: For the proposition, 606; against the proposition, 229. The majority under the special law was 84.
The work of dredging out Fox River in the rapids above Grand Chute was progressing well in October, 1873; work was also being done below the lower locks near Richmond’s paper mill; also the work on the new river dam at Grand Chute falls; at other places the works was in progress.
In April, 1876, the Lake Shore Company offered to extend their line to New London for $75,000 of the Appleton corporate bonds in settlement of all its claims against the city; this offer was accepted. As the city yet owed $50,000 on the old contract, this offer meant the extension of the road to New London for $25,000. Persons interested asked for an injunction against this step. Hortonia was expected to vote $7,000 of this issue, and did so by 45 majority after an exciting campaign and election.
In October, 1876, the Manufacturers’ Bank of Milwaukee advertised for sale the first $50,000 Appleton bonds issued to aid the Appleton and New London Railway. The work was progressing slowly on this branch. The last rail was laid in November and two weeks later regular express trains ran. The first was on December 8 — a special excursion.
The steamers Menasha, B. F. Carter, Neenah, Seventy-Six, W. Dennessen, the yacht Lucy, steamers Amos Story, Alvin Foster, Fawn, C. Le Claire, yacht L. N. Benoit, Crawford, Brooklyn, Ajax, Arrow, M. Brunette, Ellen Hardy, Northport Belle, schooner Reindeer, dredge S. D. Arnold, dredge Eva and many rafts and barges plied the river and canal about this time. In 1878 the Flora Webster, with an immense load and drawing plumb five feet of water, passed from Green Bay to Lake Winnebago. The Wisconsin Central Railway Company was trying to reach this city about this date. In 1879 the Lake Short road located its shops at Kaukauna. The Milwaukee and Northern extension was promised here soon.
The steamer Brooklyn was provided with a passenger cabin its whole length; it was 136 feet long, with 27 feet beam. It hailed from Appleton in 1879; its owners were McKenzie & Crawford of Appleton. In 1880 the Wisconsin Central became connected with Appleton; the first trains brought an excursion of railway men and others, who were entertained at the Waverly House. This road gave the city a competing line and did not cost the city a dollar.
About this time a new water power, 2,300 feet long, was opened by Judge Harriman along the river in the Fourth ward. The Boating Club owned two practice boats in 1881. In the fall of this year there was higher water in the river than ever known before; there was great danger to dams which for awhile were guarded day and night; water three and one-half feet deep passed over the dams; all outlets were ordered opened. Later the secretary of war appointed a commission to investigate the cause of this flood. It was finally decided that the overflow of the Wisconsin River was the cause. The government commission recommended the lowering of certain dams eighteen inches, and that provision should be made to raise the dams in case of low water. The work of lowering the Menasha dam began in October, 1882. It was about this time that the city refused to assist the Central road to come in on its own track; that company tried to lease the Milwaukee and Northern track from Menasha to Appleton. A big meeting to see what the citizens would do was held, but it was seen that no material help would be given; the need was not great enough.
The boats J. H. Marston, A. G. Holmes, K. M. Hutchinson, C. C. Cook, M. C. Neff, John Spry, Fashion, Ellen Hardy, Evelyn, M. Brunette, Sam Neff and others did a big business on the river and canal about this time. In 1885 sluiceways were put in several of the dams. In May, 1886, the river was as high as it was five years before. Again great care was necessary to prevent damage.
The Evelyn went up to Oshkosh June 22, 1886, and on the 23d the M. C. Neff came down loaded with sewer pipe and barrels. She was a new and fine boat; many gathered to look at her tied to the dock.
A citizens’ meeting was held in Appleton in December, 1888, for the purpose of establishing a line of boats on the river. Rush Winslow, Capt. J. H. Marston, A. L. Smith, George Peabody, A. J. Reid and John Whorton were appointed a committee to consider the question in detail.
The Green Bay and Oshkosh boat line had a large trade on Fox River and the canal in 1886; the Hutchinson was one of their best boats; E. P. Bangs was captain. Chicago and Green Bay and Green Bay and Oshkosh were the two boat lines receiving most of the patronage.
In the spring of 1887 the Hutchinson was given a stern wheel like that of the Evelyn and otherwise fitted for river navigation. The Evelyn, Hutchinson and Marston, one or the other, passed through the locks at Appleton every day for long periods during the fall of 1887; business was very brisk. The government steamer DeKorra was here October 5. The water was so low late in 1887 that many mills had to be shut down temporarily.
In 1887 it was proposed to extend the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad from Madison to Florence, touching at Appleton and the neighboring towns.
Early in the ’90s the Lake Shore line to Appleton became the Ashland division of the Northwestern system. About the same time the St. Paul line secured a lease on the side tracks of the Lake Shore line at Appleton. In 1893-4 the interurban systems began to attract attention and consideration. In September an interurban franchise ordinance was considered by the council and was finally passed in October. This line was projected from Neenah to Kaukauna. The Valley Terminal line was the name used in 1895, and the road was planned to extend from Oshkosh to Kaukauna.
It was at this time that the war department shut down on the water supply, compelling the stoppage of many mills and other industries. About the middle of September, 1895, after receiving a petition to that effect, the war department issued orders that 40,000 cubic inches of water per minute could be used by manufacturers until the level of Lake Winnebago was reduced four inches.
The Appleton Advancement Association during the ’90s endeavored to secure additional railway accommodations for this county; big meetings were held with that object in view. An extension of the Northwestern was desired and sought for in 1895-6.
The interurban electric lines are a comparatively recent advancement. The Fox River valley line was broached several years before it was really built. Work was in progress in 1897. Another line was projected along the east shore of Lake Winnebago, with an extension to Appleton and perhaps Kaukauna. The line connecting Appleton with Menasha and Neenah was soon opened and cars running. Officials first passed over the road and then an excursion of citizens at both ends of the line.
The famous case of the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company against the Kaukauna Water Power Company was decided against the latter by the United States supreme court in November, 1898. The east shore electric line seemed a sure improvement in 1899; its headquarters were at Kaukauna, and among those connected with it were D. J. Brothers, H. J. Mulholland, Charles Smith and others. The Appleton Boat Propulsion Company was incorporated in 1900; G. T. Moeskes was president. Work on the interurban between Appleton and Kaukauna was in progress in 1901, and early the following February the line was in operation; cars ran every hour between the cities; 10 cents fare. In 1903-4 an electric line from Appleton to Seymour was projected.
An act of June, 1905, authorized John S. Van Nortwick of Appleton and Ephriam Mariner of Milwaukee to build and maintain a dam across Fox River in the rapids at Grand Kaukauna in the city of Kaukauna. The dam to be built was fully described in the act; there were many conditions and requirements.
The Brighton Boat and Supply Company was incorporated in 1905 with a, capital of $5,000, the stockholders being Andrew Lind, L. H. Moore and John A. Olmstead.
An immense river business was done in 1905-6; the business of 1905 being twenty-one per cent. greater than that of 1904. Among the boats were B. F. Carter, Thistle, J. H. Marston, Anna M., Mary E. and Boscobel.
The Wisconsin and Northern line seemed a sure acquirement in 1906; also the Illinois Central. This year the Wisconsin Electric Interurban line absorbed many of the smaller lines throughout the state. The east shore line became the Milwaukee Fox River valley line in 1906-7. There were by this date several interurban lines in operation or projected in this portion of the state. In 1908 the interurban line granted a five-cent fare to Lake Winnebago.
The Appleton club boat house was built in 1908. The steamer Marston brought 30,000 tons of coal from Green Bay to Kaukauna and Appleton. The Seymour Interurban was again the talk in 1908. It was in 1909 that the cities of Kaukauna, Appleton, Neenah and Menasha were all united by the interurban system. “Conservation of the water power” was advocated at this time. An interurban line uniting New London and Hortonville with Appleton was projected in 1909. The Canoe club of Kaukauna changed its name to Kaukauna Boat club. On the Fourth of July, 1910, all boat owners were invited to take part in the water carnival at Appleton. In June, 1910, Captain Marston said the river was the lowest in forty-five years. The water power was curtailed twenty-five per cent.
It was shown in 1911 that shippers could save twenty cents a hundred on freight by shipping over the Fox River packet line to Green Bay, thence east to Buffalo.