BENCH, BAR, COURTS, TRIALS, ETC.
LAWYERS did not reside in what is now Outagamie county until after the commencement of Appleton village. Previous to 1848-9 all persons requiring legal services, except such as could be rendered by justices of the peace, went to Green Bay or Fond du Lac. Court was held at Green Bay as early as October 4, 1824, by Judge James Duane Doty and in 1832 by Judge David Irwin. Judge Doty was sent to Congress, but in 1841 became governor of Wisconsin Territory. In 1849 he was elected to Congress and was re-elected in 1851. Henry S. Baird practiced in Green Bay in 1824, and no doubt the first few settlers of what is Outagamie county went to him for legal advice. Doty and Baird traversed all of Northern Wisconsin to hold court — on horseback, by boats, through the streams and wilderness among the Indians and the wild animals.
In 1836 when the Territory of Wisconsin was established the judiciary was reposed in supreme, district, probate and justice courts. The Territory was divided into three judicial districts, each to be conducted by one of the three supreme judges — Charles Dunn, chief; David Irwin and William C. Frazer. The latter was assigned to Brown and Milwaukee counties which were constituted the Third district. The first session of the territorial supreme court was held December 8, 1836, at Belmont. Henry S. Baird was attorney general. Judge Frazer died at Milwaukee in October, 1838, under melancholy circumstances and was succeeded by Andrew G. Miller. In 1837 Frazer had held court at Depere, then the seat of justice of Brown county.
The state constitution of 1848 provided that the judges of the several circuits should for five years constitute the supreme court; thus the state was divided into five districts, the Fourth embracing Brown, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Winnebago and Calumet. At the first election Alexander W. Stow was chosen judge of the Fourth circuit and was elected chief justice by his associates. These five judges took the oath of office August 28, 1848. In January Timothy O. Howe succeeded Stow as judge of the Fourth circuit; he entered politics and was long the idol of his party (Whig) in Wisconsin; in 1861 he became United States Senator.
In 1852 a separate supreme court was elected — Edward V. Whiton, chief; Abram D. Smith and Samuel Crawford. In 1838 Morgan L. Martin was one of the commission to revise the territorial laws; another revision took place in 1849, in 1875 another and in 1895-8 another. One of the most important court cases in early years was the contested gubernatorial election case in 1856 between Coles Bashford and William A. Barstow. The following powerful array of attorneys were engaged on this case. For Bashford — T. O. Howe, E. G. Ryan, J. H. Knowlton and A. W. Randall; for Barstow — J. E. Arnold, H. S. Orton and M. H. Carpenter. The novelty of the case and its partisan spirit and character attracted the attention of the country.
In 1855 the Tenth judicial circuit was formed of the following counties: Brown, Kewaunee, Door, Outagamie, Oconto and Shawano. The first judge of the new circuit was Stephen R. Cotton who took his seat in July, 1855. In succession after him came Edwin Wheeler, 1861-64, G. W. Washburn, 1864-70, Ezra T. Sprague, 1870-72, E. H. Ellis, 1872-79, George H. Myers, 1880-91 and John Goodland to date, 1911. George H. Myers was the first lawyer to locate in this county. He came in 1849. In 1852 he became district attorney; 1861 county judge; 1865 in the army; 1868-76 was postmaster; 1880 judge of this circuit. He was a whig, then a republican, and was a member of the Methodist church. He was a sound lawyer, a just judge and in every duty was faithful and honest; he died in 1891. John Goodland was admitted to the bar rather late in life in 1877. He was in partnership with Lyman E. Barnes; was district attorney and became judge in 1891 upon the death of Judge Myers. Before 1872 he was a republican, but after that date a democrat. In 1862 Congress constituted Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin a separate United States judicial circuit. In 1849 county courts were established and every four years a judge was to be elected.
In the case of Grignon vs. Whitney in 1849 it was shown how the garrison at Fort Howard exercised jurisdiction over the early settlers. “Though stationed here for no other purpose than to guard the frontier they established martial law and punished citizens for offenses against the state. One was whipped for selling liquor, and another was sent out of the county for some other offense.” — (Green Bay Advocate, April 26, 1849.)
The case of Hermeneque St. Marie vs. Ephriam St. Louis was the first filed in Outagamie county August 5, 1852. Suit was commenced June 28, 1851, before Benjamin Proctor, justice of the peace, the plaintiff claiming $70 and interest for a cream-colored mare sold to the defendant. Anson Ballard represented the plaintiff and Frederick Packard the defendant. The latter presented a counter claim of $72.85. The justice awarded the plaintiff $2.25 plus the costs, all amounting to $14.80. On September 30, 1852, the case was heard in the circuit court; or perhaps it was dismissed, as the defendant recovered costs.
Judge Smith held court at Appleton in the spring of 1853, but there was little litigation and no case of importance. The attorneys in attendance were Perry H. Smith, Anson Ballard, Frederick Packard, George H. Myers and Alden S. Sanborn.
The April term of the circuit court, 1854, was largely attended owing to the important cases to be tried. Some trouble was experienced in getting a suitable jury for the trial of Fred Schoeffler, who was charged with having poisoned his wife. In this case a large number of the panel were excused owing to prejudices which they claimed to have formed in the case. Judge Howe presided with his usual vigor and dignity. The case was finally continued. In May court was again occupied with the Schoeffler murder case. Out of ninety-six men summoned, a jury was at last obtained. The prosecution was conducted by S. R. Cotton of Green Bay, aided by several Appleton lawyers. The defense was conducted by Smith & Ballard of Appleton, Howe & Haynes of Green Bay, and Charles Weisbrod of Oshkosh. This was the most hotly contested case ever in the county up to this date. The lawyers were able, combative and brilliant, the jury was composed of the best citizens and the court was fair and impartial.
During this session several important trials were held. Among the leading lawyers in attendance were Alden S. Sanborn, Smith & Ballard, J. B. Hamilton, S. R. Cotton, George H. Myers, Frederick Packard, Wheeler & Bouck, Elbridge Smith, J. A. Eastman, Howe & Haynes, Edwin Wheeler and others. Smith & Ballard were counsel in almost every case. Mr. Sanborn also was active. Often Sanborn was pitted against Smith & Ballard.
In Agusut the Crescent insisted on its right to criticize the management of county affairs and to oppose extravagance or incapacity of public officers. It criticized the allowance of $200 to S. R. Cotton, attorney of Green Bay, for services during the recent murder trial of Fred Schoeffler. It criticized the state of affairs which called for extra counsel when the county already had a district attorney. It insisted that if the district attorney was incompetent he should be removed and another one appointed.
Concerning the Schoffler murder case the Crescent of April 20, said: “In his anxiety to be impartial it was evident that Judge Howe leaned toward the prisoners. Indeed, he charged the jury, in substance, to acquit Mrs. Christina Schoeffler and said there was serious doubt as to the sufficiency of the proof against Fred. The jury returned into court with a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree against both defendants. On Tuesday a motion for a new trial was argued and granted to Mrs. Schoeffler on the ground that the verdict was not warranted by the evidence. The judge took occasion to advise the district attorney not to bring her case before another jury. The motion for a new trial in Fred’s case was denied, but as his counsel chose to take it to the supreme court on a bill of exceptions, he was remanded without sentence. The old lady was admitted to bail in the sum of $500. As there is already much dissatisfaction expressed as to the result, we will refrain from any comments calculated to inflame the minds of a law-abiding people.” The indignation of the people of Outagamie county was general when Schoeffler was acquitted of murder in another county where the case was taken from this. His guilt was not doubted by the people here. The Crescent was not choice in language in expressing its contempt for the verdict and result.
An important murder trial in 1854 was that of Kern Brennan, James Tewey and Michael Tewey for the murder of Martin Ryan. The jury rendered a verdict of manslaughter and fixed the punishment at confinement in the penitentiary for eight years. Smith & Ballard, George H. Myers, Frederick Packard and A. S. Sanborn were engaged on this case. In October, 1854, the court records showed only two important criminal cases pending. There was no district attorney, the previous one having moved elsewhere.
Perry H. Smith was a prominent citizen of Appleton. He was the first county judge, 1853-54 and had the confidence of the community. He was a candidate for the assembly. William Johnston became county judge at the fall election in 1854. The official returns of the several counties in this district gave Judge Smith, the democratic candidate, a majority of 337. Outagamie and Shawano counties together gave him a majority of 112.
In the case of Reeder Smith vs. Amos A. Lawrence late in 1853-54, argued before the Supreme court in December, 1854, the former was represented by H. S. Orton and the latter by E. G. Ryan, two of the ablest lawyers in the state, besides several lawyers from Appleton.
The resignation of Timothy Howe, judge of the district court, made it necessary to elect his successor in 1855. Among the candidates named for this position were D. E. Wood, republican, John G. Eastman, democrat, Robert Flint, Charles J. Eldridge, D. C. Blodgett and S. R. Cotton. The judge not appearing at Appleton in May, 1855, no term of circuit court was held and all suits commenced were carried over to the October term.
The people of Outagamie county were interested in the election of the judge of the Fourth district, because such judge, it was provided, would hold one term of court in this county.
The fall term of the circuit court began October 15, 1855. Hon. S. R. Cotton, judge presided; P. Hunt was sheriff, A. B. Everts, undersheriff, H. S. Eggleston, clerk. The docket was small and the cases were unimportant, with one or two exceptions. At this session of the court the proceedings commenced at two o’clock p. m. on Monday and were wholly concluded by five o’clock p. m. on Tuesday. It was stated at this time that there had been no jury term of the circuit court in this county for fifty-three weeks and that although the grand jury had patiently inquired and investigated for more than a day they did not find a single indictment. The Crescent declared that this fact spoke volumes for the good morals of the people of Outagamie county.
In February, 1856, the Crescent and many citizens insisted that the legislature should divest the president of Appleton of judicial powers and give the village a police justice; also give the treasurer instead of the marshal the right to collect taxes, and permit the corporation to compel lot owners to plant shade trees.
In March, 1856, the legislature fixed the time for holding court in Outagamie county on the third Monday of January and October and fourth Monday of April of each year.
At the April term, 1856, of the circuit court Judge S. R. Cotton, presided; L. B. Noyes was district attorney; A. B. Everts, undersheriff; and Samuel Ryan, Jr., clerk. Among the attorneys present at this term were Smith & Ballard, George H. Myers, Bouck & Washburn, Frederick Packard, R. P. Eaton, J. B. Hamilton, James H. Howe, C. Coolbaugh, Myers & Howe, John Last, John Jewett, Jr., Wheeler & Edwards and Brush, Smith & Ballard. The docket was small, though there were a few important cases.
In the circuit court in April, 1856, Judge Cotton held that the village treasurer could be compelled to pay over funds in his hands upon a judgment against the corporation even though no demand for payment had been made upon and refused by the village board, and that he was legally bound to pay out money only upon their duly authenticated orders. If they refused to pay, the remedy was by judicial process.
In November, 1856, a special jury term was called to try Emerson Sanders who was indicted for the murder of Joseph Rock. The prosecuting attorneys were Charles Jewett, Jr., and Frederick Packard. The defendant’s case was conducted by T. O. Howe and James H. Howe. Judge Stephen R. Cotton heard the case. The jury remained out until three o’clock in the morning and upon failing to agree were discharged. The defense put up by the Howes was said to have been masterly in the extreme; undoubtedly it was due to their skill, sagacity and ability that the jury were unable to reach a decision.
The great land suit between Reeder Smith, complainant, and Amos A. Lawrence, defendant, involving a heavy land interest in the Second ward of Appleton, was argued before Judge Cotton at Green Bay. T. O. Howe appeared for complainant and George H. Myers for defendant. The decision was held over until the April term. It was not a jury trial. It was believed that Mr. Smith would recover half the property in dispute. “If Amos A. Lawrence had come to Appleton himself and attended to his own affairs instead of trusting to, and following the advice of, land sharks and hungry lawyers he would have realized $20,000 more than he has from his Appleton property and this suit would not now be hanging as an incubus upon a large and valuable part of the Second ward of the city.” — (Crescent, March 7, 1857.)
At the April term Judge Cotton decided that Reeder Smith should recover the undivided interest in the property claimed in the Second ward in Appleton. It was announced that the decree would be awarded in July. The docket was comparatively small and was hurried through by the court in a few days.
“Judge Cotton is a very popular jurist with the people of Outagamie county. His promptness in despatching business, his quick conception and familiarity with the intricacies of the law, together with his plain, straight-forward way of administering justice without fear, favor, or affection insures him the esteem of all.” — (Crescent). At this term the district attorney took steps to bring suit against Robert Morrow who had previously usurped the office of county treassurer, for the balance claimed to be due the county. Mr. Morrow at this time was presumed to be in Kansas whither he had gone a year or two before.
The county vote for chief justice of the supreme court in April, 1857, was as follows: Cothren (D.) 530, Whiton (R.) 396; and for county judge: Jewett (D.) 556, Eaton (R.) 336. The county was thus shown to be reliably democratic.
In 1857 what was called the judiciary fund was secured from a tax of $1 imposed upon each suit commenced in the circuit courts of the state. The fund thus accumulated proved much too small to meet the expenses, and a change in the method was necessary.
In January, 1858, Judge William Johnston of the county court retired from office and was succeeded by John Jewett, Jr., who held his first court early in that month.
At the spring term of the circuit court in 1858, William S. Warner of Appleton and Hartley B. Cox of Hortonville were admitted to practice as attorneys at law. The principal lawyers of Appleton were G. H. Meyers, Frederick Packard, C. Aiken, Jewett & Hudd, Anson Ballard, D. C. Jenne and Mr. Bingham.
At the October term of the circuit court, 1858, the only case of much consequence brought to trial was that of the state against George Gerrity on an indictment for selling liquor to the Indians. This was the third trial of that cause. In the first the jury did not agree; in the second a verdict of guilty was rendered but was set aside; in the third trial he was acquitted.
Early in 1859, George H. Myers contested the election of Thomas R. Hudd as district attorney and Constantine A. Hamer contested that of Samuel Ryan, Jr., as clerk of the county court. The grounds upon which both contests were based was that the people of Shawano county had no right to vote for the judicial officers of this county. That county was merely temporarily attached to Outagamie and it was argued that the citizens had no right to say who should be the officials of the latter.
In 1859 Outagamie county was part of the Tenth judicial circuit, the other counties being Brown, Winnebago, Oconto and Shawano, Stephen R. Cotton of Green Bay was judge.
In the circuit court of November, 1859, there were 14 indictments, ten for selling liquor without a license, one for larceny, one for obtaining money under false pretense and two for perjury. Only three of the defendants in the liquor case were arranged; one waas acquitted, one obtained a continuance, and one was nolle-prossed. Among the attorneys present were the following: Bouck & Edmonds, Wheeler & Coolbaugh, Jewett & Hudd, J. B. Hamilton, G. B. Goodwin, Freeman & Jackson, David Tyler & Son, M. L. Whittemore, A. R. Brush, Frederick Packard, J. C. Truesdall, R. P. Eaton, G. H. Myers, J. W. Carter, Smith & Ballard, and others.
In January, 1861, Morgan L. Martin of Green Bay was a candidate for circuit judge of the Tenth judicial circuit. Hon. S. R. Cotton was the incumbent of that office. In March, 1861, William S. Warner became an independent candidate for county judge.
In April, 1862, the leading lawyers of Appleton were Charles Aiken, George H. Myers, Frederick Packard, Jewett & Hudd (successors to Smith & Ballard), Samuel Boyd, John Jewett Jr. and others.
In July, 1862, Frederick Packard, attorney, died in Philadelphia. He was a graduate of Yale college, studied law at Cambridge, was admitted to the bar and came to Appleton about 1850. He possessed much ability, was a diligent scholar and was generally considered a good lawyer. He was a member of the Congregational church which he helped to organize in 1850. He was unusually well versed in biblical lore and could quote accurately, promptly and extensively from the bible.
Early in 1863 the supreme court of Wisconsin decided that the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by President Lincoln was a violation of the constitution. This decision met the approval of the democrats throughout the state, particularly in Outagamie county.
In January, 1863, in the town of Greenville, Joseph Smith, a farmer residing on the main road to Hortonville, was shot and instantly killed by a drunken Stockbridge Indian named Joshua Wilson. The murder occasioned great excitement in that town. After killing Mr. Smith the Indian ran to the woods and disappeared. The neighbors hurriedly gathered and started in pursuit and finally found him lying near the road two miles distant. They arrested him and brought him to Appleton and turned him over to Sheriff Goff who immediately placed him in jail. He was examined before Justice Rork and bound over for trial at the June term. The German killed left a wife and six small children. After the Indian was placed in jail in Appleton the report was circulated that a large number of German citizens, numbering from 100 to 200, was approaching for the purpose of lynching the Indian. To meet any such movement the sheriff immediately rallied a large force of citizens who prepared to resist any such attempt. A large body of rioters finally appeared and demanded of the sheriff the key to the jail, stating that four murders had recently been committed in the county, that no one had been convicted and that they intended now to take the law into their own hands. The sheriff refused to give up the key and advised the rioters to disperse. The mob actually numbered about seventy-five men, led it was said by one of the men who had sold the Indian the whisky. The mob immediately proceeded to violence. They seized a plank and using it as a battering ram proceeded to smash in the door of the jail. The men assisting the sheriff immediately intervened and after a severe fight between the two parties, during which time many black eyes and bloody noses appeared the rioters were repulsed and the sheriff held the ground. There were under the sheriff at the time about 100 citizens who were engaged against the mob in this battle at the jail. While the struggle was in progress some one telegraphed to the governor that a riot was in progress against the sheriff and asked for assistance. However, no soldiers were ordered out. The mob soon retired and the war was at an end. There were many casualties, such as bruises and bloody noses. Numerous reports went out over the state, greatly exaggerated, concerning this riot. The Crescent said, “Our citizens return hearty thanks to the Milwaukee Sentinel and News for publishing incorrect accounts of the affair in advance of the mails.”
“The determined and successful action of our citizens in the suppression of the recently attempted riotous proceeding cannot be misunderstood by any one, including those who so foolishly seemed bent on disgracing the place by lynch law. We are proud to say that the people of Appleton and nine-tenths of the residents of the county will never sanction the substitution of mob rule in lieu of civil law. The Germans who were engaged in this demonstration must learn that upon the strict regard for civil law and implicit obedience thereto, rests the very permanency of our liberties and the laws are amply sufficient to punish every criminal. The Indian deserves the severest penalty of the law and will be punished. But one word to these rioters: Your lawless proceedings must never again be repeated in our city. Our citizens will never allow another such an outrage on good order either in the present or future come from what source it may, without subjecting the perpetrators to the severest penalties of the civil law.” — (Crescent, January 17, 1863.)
At the June term of court Joshua Wilson, the Indian, was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary for life, ten days of each year to be solitary confinement. The district attorney entered a nolle pros in the cases of a number of citizens charged with refusing to assist in quelling the riot at the jail during the previous winter. In the murder case against Joshua Wilson the district attorney and George H. Myers prosecuted and T. R. Hudd and S. R. Cotton defended.
The vote for chief justice of the supreme court in this county in April, 1863, was as follows: Dixon (R.) 625, Cothren (D.) 886. Among the attorneys practicing at Appleton were the following: Samuel Boyd, G. H. Myers, W. S. Warner, Ellis & Fisher, Jewett & Hudd, C. Coolbaugh, Anson Ballard, T. R. Hudd, Whittemore & Weibrod and S. R. Cotton.
In December, 1863, four Oneida Indians were arrainged before Justice Warner charged with mutilating the Methodist church building at Oneida. They were charged with having smashed windows and doors and damaged other parts of the building. In order to secure one of them as a witness District Attorney Clark entered a nolle pros in his case and then had the other Indians fined $10 and costs each.
The legislature authorized a special term of the circuit court held at Appleton in February, 1864, “for the transaction of all business pending in any and every county in the Tenth circuit that could be transacted thereat without the intervention of a jury.” No further notice of this special term was required other than the act itself. About the same time the circuit court of Outagamie county in January of each year was made a special term for the whole Tenth circuit. In February, 1864, J. H. M. Wigman was admitted to practice at the bar of the circuit court of this county.
The legislature in April, 1865, conferred upon the county court jurisdiction in all civil actions equal to and commensurate with the circuit court for all sums not exceeding $500; but this court was not given jurisdiction in actions of ejectment, mandamus and quo warranto. Appeals in civil actions from justices of the peace or from judgments before justices were to be taken to the county court instead of the circuit court as before. It was made a court of record with clerk and seal. Four annual terms of this court were ordered held — January, March, May and October. The act creating this court made full provisions for its operations. This law was repealed in 1867.
Upon the resignation of Judge Myers, Governor Lewis appointed Samuel Boyd to be county judge of Outagamie county until another judge should be elected later in the spring of 1865. Samuel Ryan, Jr., was elected county judge. He had been provisionally appointed to that office by the governor in March. He duly qualified and prepared to take the office January 1, 1868; but Judge Boyd who had contested the election declared it to be his intention to hold the office. On the day appointed Judge Ryan took his seat on the bench and held the full term of court without interruption. He again demanded the books, but Judge Boyd refused to deliver them. Judge Ryan then commenced suit to secure possession of the books, etc.
In the case of Ryan against Boyd, Judge Washburne decided that he had no jurisdiction in the case. Thereupon the case was taken to the Supreme Court. The case was heard in the Supreme Court late in February, 1866. The answer was filed by Judge Boyd and the demurrer thereto brought the matter to issue. Boyd was not ready and the case went over to the June term.
In October, 1865, the governor of Wisconsin offered a reward of $300 for the capture of the person guilty of murder near Appleton. Governor Lewis made this offer because the sheriff of Outagamie county failed to take any definite action looking to the capture of the murderer. It was noted in November that the grand jury had instituted a larger number of criminal trials than during any term since the organization of the county. At the December term of the court, David McCornac was found guilty of larceny on three indictments, and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the city prison.
In 1865 Anson Ballard and Louis Schintz were partners; so also were E. B. Clark and Samuel Boyd and T. R. Hudd and J. H. M. Wigman, W. S. Warner practiced alone. In 1866 terms of the circuit court were fixed for January, June and November of each year; neither grand nor petit jury was to be summoned for the January term.
In June, 1866, the case of Ryan vs. Boyd was argued in the Supreme Court by G. B. Smith and S. A. Pinney. The court sustained Ryan’s demurrer to Boyd, but notwithstanding the decision of the Supreme Court, Judge Boyd still held the books and papers of the county judge’s office from Judge Ryan. At last in December Samuel Boyd who had assumed the duties of county judge since the previous January, turned over the books, papers and seal to Judge Ryan, the man legally elected, and thus, ended this vexatious case.
The circuit court closed its November term early in December, 1866. Several interesting cases were heard. The riot case was a nolle prossed, the jury failing to agree. This case was where a party of men by force dispossessed L. P. Cozzens of the tract of land which he held by virtue of a tax title deed.
There was considerable talk early in 1867 of abolishing the county court. Finally a number of citizens prepared a petition, to which they obtained about 384 signatures, and sent it to the legislature for the termination of that court. At this date the county contained about 2,300 legal voters. There were many of them who opposed this step.
The circuit court at the June term was occupied one day less than two weeks. It was a jury term and was unusually short. Jack Holland was convicted of assault and sentenced to one year to the state prison. In one case the jury brought in a verdict against the charge of the judge. He set aside the verdict and granted a new trial. In the case of the widow of Cornelius, the Indian who was drowned at the old drawbridge, the jury brought in a verdict in her favor of $716. A new trial was denied. The case was taken to the supreme court. One or two divorce decrees were granted without contest. In several instances the jury refused or failed to obey the instructions of the court. John E. Austin of Dale was foreman of the grand jury. Henry Dodge Ryan., formerly connected with the Crescent, was admitted to the practice of law in December, before Judge Washburne.
The act of February 29, 1868, provided that four terms of the county court should be held annually — April, July, October and December; the salary of county judge was fixed at $500. In February, 1868, there were pending in the supreme court of the state the following cases from this county: Cornelius vs. the City of Appleton; Roger vs. Hudd; White vs. City of Appleton; Cuthbert vs. City of Appleton; City of Appleton vs. Barteau.
T. R. Hudd, who had been here many years and was prominent as a lawyer and legislator, removed to Green Bay in the spring of 1868. His partner Mr. Wigman accompanied him, but they still retained a branch office in this city. At the vote for supreme justice this spring the county cast 1,320 for Dunn (D.) and 1,038 for Dixon (R.).
Among the lawyers in Appleton in 1868 were the folowing: Anson Ballard and Louis Schnitz, who were associated as partners; Hudd & Wigman, also partners, attorneys-at-law, and solicitors in bankruptcy; N. B. Clark and Samuel B. Boyd, associated as partners, under the firm name of Clark & Boyd; Humphrey Pierce, attorney and counselor, practicing alone.
In September, 1868, two boys named Shepard, aged 15 and 17 years, were arrested and committed to jail at Appleton, charged with the murder of a young man named Leslie. All parties resided near Hortonville. The oldest Shepard boy admitted that he shot Leslie, but claimed he did it in self defense. The father of the dead boy testified and his evidence was strong against the young Shepards. Apparently the shooting was the result of a feud between the families of the two boys. The Shepard boys were out hunting for bears, the older one having an army musket loaded with twelve buckshot. In an altercation he shot young Leslie through the breast causing his death. The young man gave himself up. After a thorough trial lasting three days, the jury brought in a verdict acquitting Edward Shepard and Eugene Shepard for the murder of Robert Leslie. The verdict was in accordance with public sentiment. T. R. Hudd and J. H. Wigman were for the prosecution; and G. H. Myers and General E. S. Bragg for the defendants. “General Bragg’s argument was the most eloquent and powerful ever delivered in a criminal case in this county. Mr. Hudd made a strong plea for the prosecution. The trial demonstrated the existence of a feud between the families that was disgracful to civilized people.” — (Crescent.) This term of the court closed after a period of nearly three weeks and was one of the most expensive ever held in the county.
At this session of the circuit court there were twenty-one cases on the docket.
A. Lang was tried for murdering F. Plunderman; G. W. Latta and T. R. Hudd prosecuted and K. M. Phillips and J. C. Nevitte defended. The case was heard before Judge E. H. Ellis and the defendant was finally acquitted.
In December, 1877, the county bar gave a complimentary supper at the Waverly to Judge Ellis. It was thought that this would be his last term here and the lawyers wished to do him signal honor. The state was about to be redistricted and it seemed probable that he would thus be thrown in another district. Formal proceedings were first held in a meeting at the courthouse when W. S. Warner, Judge Collins and others spoke of the high esteem in which Judge Ellis was held. Henry D. Ryan, then on behalf of the bar addressed the judge in a letter requesting him to be present at the Waverly House at 9 o’clock, Saturday evening, December 15, and in the address used the following language: “We desire to manifest our appreciation of your great worth and integrity as a man and your learning, impartiality and sound judgment as a judge. No person ever in this county questioned your integrity or doubted your honesty. You stand with bar and people above and beyond suspicion. We part with you affectionately but reluctantly. Your eminent abilities qualify you for a seat on the bench of the supreme court of the state of Wisconsin, where we all hope at no distant day to see you seated. You have been kind and courteous to all the members of the bar, both young and old. You have maintained the dignity and integrity of the profession and you have added learning, patience and purity to the judicial ermine. May a kind Providence bless you and round out your life in the fulness of years and honors.” This was signed by the following members of the bar: Samuel Boyd, A. L. Collins, W. S. Warner, H. D. Ryan, H. C. Sloan, S. Baird, Lyman Barnes, Mill Schoetz, R. Lester, D. C. Babcock, G. H. Myers, John Bottensek, J. E. Harriman, W. J. Allen, George C. Jones, John Goodland, A. H. Kellogg, William Kennedy, E. H. Enos and G. T. Thorn. It was also signed by all the county officials. At the Waverly house meeting others — county officers, city officers, members of the press, business men and citizens — assembled to assist in doing honor to a man whom all so highly regarded. The fine supper was first enjoyed by all. The following toasts were then responded to: “Our Country,” W. S. Warner; “The State of Wisconsin,” Judge A. L. Collins; “Our Guest,” Judge Ellis, whose remarks were very interesting, full of reminiscences, and showed that he was born on the banks of Fox river upwards of 52 years before this time; “The Judiciary,” J. E. Harriman; “The Press,” Sam. Ryan, Jr., “The Ladies,” H. C. Sloan and William Kennedy. After a few remarks by the chairman, Mayor Marston, all united in singing “Auld Lang Syne,” and then dispersed.
In the winter of 1869-70 A. J. Turner, assemblyman, introduced a bill to make probate business free instead of requiring the payment of the fees into the county treasury. The Post favored the passage of this bill because, it alleged, the present judge was never known to remit a single cent even in cases of dire distress. The Cresecent denounced this statement as untrue. In 1869 the terms of the circuit court were two — June and November, and each term was a special term for the whole circuit. The grand jury system was voted in in 1870 by the voters of the state. The Crescent said, “The grand jury system is unfair, inquisitorial, cumbersome and very expensive and we are satisfied that the people will vote by a large majority for its discontinuance.”
Among the lawyers practicing at the court in Appleton in 1870 were Warner & Ryan, S. S. Hamilton, Hudd & Wigman, Geo. H. Myers, Samuel Boyd, Gabriel Bouck, Humphrey Pierce, E. P. Finch, Reitbrock & Benninghausen, George Gary, Freeman & Hancock, G. T. Thorne, Elbridge Smith, Ellis, Hastings and Green and others.
In November, 1870, the vote on the grand jury system in this county was as follows: For the system 483; against the system 840; majority against 357. In Appleton the vote for the system was 104, against the system 359. The towns casting majorities for the system were Black Creek, Ellington, Greenville, Hortonia, Liberty, Maple Creek and Osborn. The majority in the state was against the system which was thereupon abolished. The last grand jury was summoned in December, 1870, R. R. Bateman was chosen foreman. They found three indictments, all robbery or larceny, fourteen cases were disposed of at this term. Hon. E. T. Sprague was judge.
In 1871 the terms of the circuit court in Outagamie county were fixed for the second Mondays in March and November of each year. A regular term of the court was ordered held on the first Monday in June, 1871, and grand and petit juries were ordered summoned. Chapter 25 of the general laws of 1871 could not take effect in Outagamie county until August 1, 1871, said the legislature. The act of March 23, 1871, abolished the system of fees employed by the judge of probate who was thereafter to be paid a salary determined by the county board. W. J. Lander was admitted to the bar late in 1871.
The June term of the circuit court in 1873 had a large docket — 93 cases, of which 49 were railroad cases. This brought to the city many lawyers, litigants and witnesses. Lawyers were present from Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Chilton, Stevens Point, Menasha, Green Bay and Marinette. It was an important session. Judge Ellis and District Attorney Kennedy dispatched business rapidly.
In January, 1876, William S. Warner retired from the law firm of Warner, Ryan & Allen; H. D. Ryan succeeded to the business. W. J. Allen opened a separate office. J. A. Parkhurst began practicing at this time; he was formerly circuit clerk. G. T. Thorn formed a partnership with Mr. Weisbrod. H. C. Sloan began the practice at this time; he was the son of A. Scott Sloan, attorney general.
The legislature in March, 1878, enacted that a certain abstract of title to the real estate of the county of Outagamie according to Walton’s system recently compiled for and bought by the county board, was constituted a part of the official records of the office of the register of deeds. It was made the duty of the register to continue and keep up the abstract.
In January, 1879, the governor appointed George H. Myers judge of the Tenth judicial circuit agreeably to the requests of the bar, officers of the court and prominent citizens.
In 1879 Herman Knoll was tried for the murder of Charles Rhode, the town of Black Creek where the crime was committed offered a reward of $500 for the arrest and conviction of the murderer; later the county board assumed a portion of this offer. William Kennedy and John Goodland prosecuted and H. D. Ryan and C. E. McIntosh defended. Knoll was convicted, but the case was reversed by the supreme court on the ground of incompetent evidence.
The case against Parker, the Indian, was tried at this time. Foster, Davis & Foster was a law firm at this time. Judge Conger held court here. J. E. Harriman was county judge. Patchin & Weed, attorneys of New London, established a branch office with Richard Lester.
“Too Many Lawyers. — Appleton contains too many lawyers; so please stop writing to us to ascertain if this is a good place for lawyers. Indeed the supply is far above the demand. There are of course some who are doing a large business, but the generality are not, but are what are usually termed ‘the poor unfortunate devils.’ What is wanted is to limit the production and pad the issues and the pathway of the real lawyers will be strewn again as of yore with solid prosperity.” — (Crescent, April 10, 1880.)
The vote for county judge in the spring of 1881 was as follows: Harriman, 3,475; Flanagan, 852; Goodland, 127. The act of March, 1822, required the county judge to appoint a competent person to record the proceedings of the county court, to be styled the “register of probate.” His duties were fully set forth.
In 1882 the lawyers at Appleton were: W. J. Allen, D. C. Babcock, S. Baird, L. Barnes, J. Bottensek, S. Boyd, O. E. Clark, A. L. Collins, J. Goodland, L. Hammel, J. E. Harriman, G. C. Jones, A. H. Kellogg, G. H. Myers, W. Kennedy, H. Pierce, H. D. Ryan, H. C. Sloan, H. W. Tenney, W. S. Warner, H. Wantz, S. Ryan, J. Roenor and at Kaukauna E. C. Eastman.
In the spring of 1883 Door, Oconto, Brown, Kewaunee and Marinette counties were taken from this, the Tenth judicial circuit, leaving only four counties — Outagamie, Shawano, Langlade and Florence — in the Tenth circuit. The reason of the division was because the old Tenth was too large, no one judge being able to handle all the business with dispatch and success.
At different times for many years the advisability of forming at Appleton an association of the bench and bar had been considered but no definite step with that object in view was taken until early in February, 1884, when sixteen members of the bar assembled at the office of H. D. Ryan and were called to order by that gentleman. William Kennedy was elected chairman of the meeting, John Bottensek secretary. Several members of the local bar made speeches favoring the formation of such a society or association. The meeting then adjourned to reassemble February 7, on which occasion a temporary organization was effected by the election of H. W. Tenney chairman and F. W. Harriman secretary. A committee consisting of H. D. Ryan, L. L. Collins, William Kennedy, O. E. Clark and John Goodland was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws and to report in one week.
The final meeting was held February, 1884, when a permanent organization was effected, all members of the Appleton bar being present. The following permanent officers were elected: L. L. Collins, president; H. D. Ryan, vice-president; F. W. Harriman, secretary; George C. Jones, treasurer. The following order of business was adopted: Reading the minutes, reports of committees, motions, selection of topics for next meeting, discussion of topics for this meeting, adjournment. It was decided to hold sessions every two weeks. The topic selected for discussion at the next meeting was “Sir Matthew Hale.” A. B. Whitman, L. Hammel and A. O. Blackwell were appointed to prepare a catalogue of all the law books in the city.
W. J. Allen read an essay on the life of Sir Matthew Hale — an excellent effort. This was followed by a discussion of the same subject. It was announced that H. W. Tenney at the next session would speak on “The Law Courts of England.”
In 1883 the court terms were the third Mondays in April and the second Mondays in October. Florence, Langlade, Outagamie and Shawano counties constituted the Tenth circuit. George H. Myers was judge. John H. Brennan, attorney, located at Kaukauna in 1883. At the third meeting of the bar association Judge Collins talked on the “Early Courts of Wisconsin.” In the case of the State vs. Knoll, Kennedy and Pierce prosecuted and Hudd and others defended. Knoll was found guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary.
In February, 1885, the bar association appointed H. W. Tenney, John Goodland, Humphrey Pierce and John Bottensek a committee to consider the advisability of changing the time of holding court from April to June and from October to December. If the changes were deemed advisable the committee were authorized to prepare a bill to that effect. At this time Mr. Tenney was vice-president of the state bar association. A new circuit judge was to be elected in April, 1885, for the Tenth judicial circuit composed of the counties of Outagamie, Shawano, Langlade and Florence to succeed Judge Myers. There were many candidates.
In March John Goodland was solicited by 726 electors of the Tenth circuit to become a candidate for judge at the approaching election. Mr. Goodland accepted the invitation. Among the signers at Appleton were H. W. Tenney, S. P. Ming, John W. Cirkel, A. H. Conkey, James Golden and Welcome Hyde. Judge Harriman was candidate for county judge. The contest assumed something of a partisan nature — that for circuit judge. The candidates finally narrowed down to Myers and Goodland, the latter was formally nominated for the office by the democrats.
Judge Collins’ remarks on early lawyers of Wisconsin were very interesting. At this meeting it was noted that recently two members of this bar had been defeated by a merchant who conducted his own case. A motion was made to expel the two lawyers, but was finally withdrawn and all again became merry and placid.
In 1886 Mrs. Girkie was tried for the murder of Peter Armstrong; she shot him while he was trying to enter her house; she was convicted of murder in the second degree. District Attorney Spencer prosecuted and William Kennedy defended; the trial was held at Dartford. About this time Hugh Boyle was tried for murder charged with killing Theodore Endter. District Attorney Spencer and H. D. Rya.n prosecuted and William Kennedy and G. H. Dawson defended. Anton Helmrod killed John Bauer, shot him, and was tried for his murder. There were four or five murder cases on the docket this year, 1886. This was about the time when the numerous river, canal, water power and riparian rights cases were first instituted and when the local bar became one of the most conspicuous and one of the ablest in the West.
The Appleton lawyers in 1887-8 were as follows: William J.Allen, Samuel Baird, John Bottensek, Orland E. Clark, Edward E. Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald, John Goodland, Joseph W. Hammond, Fred E. Harriman, F. W. Harriman, J .E. Harriman A. H. Kellogg, William Kennedy, Pierce & Moeskes, H. D. Ryan, Sam Ryan, H. W. Tenney, Whitman & Spencer.
Judge J. E. Harriman died in April, 1889. The bar met and passed suitable resolutions regretting the event and extolling the character of the deceased. The bar association took suitable action over the death of H. C. Tenney in February, 1890; remarks were made by Judge Myers, John Goodland, H. D. Ryan, Samuel Boyd and Charles Lamb. The resolutions prepared by Goodland, Boyd arnd Bottersek delineated the excellent qualities of Mr. Tenney both as a lawyer and a citizen.
William Kennedy was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1844, and came to Wisconsin in 1857, and to Appleton in 1871. He went rapidly to the front of his profession — law –and became one of the foremost criminal lawyers of the West and an orator that always attracted a large audience. He served as state senator in the ’80s and ’90s.
Upon the death of Judge Harrinman his son, F . H. Harriman, was appointed county judge by Governor Hoard. Judge Harriman had been very prominent here in all worthy public movements as well as professionally. In 1891 G. T. Moeskes was elected county judge. Judge Myers having died, beautiful memorial services were held, among the speakers being Kennedy, Harriman, Bottensek, Warner, Bradford and others. In August, 1891, Judge Goodland held his first session as circuit judge. He stated that there could not be a good court without a good bar and called attention to the need here of sound lawyers owing to the many large cases arising from the water power, river, canal and immense factories. This year the very important case of Kimberly & Clark Company vs. Henry Hewitt, upon which depended a score of other cases, was tried in the courts and decided for the plaintiff.
The suits of Telulah Paper Company, Fox River Paper Company and Patten Paper Company (Ltd.) vs. Appleton Edison Electric Light Company, Appleton Chair Company, J. A. Kimberly, Jr., and Frank H. Pietsch, alleged that the defendants took water from the government canal, derived from the pond created by the first dam, or Grand Chute dam, and instead of emptying it in such away that it should be tributary to the second dam or Ballard and West dam, they diverted it and emptied it below the said second dam, thereby greatly damaging the plaintiffs by depriving them of its use, for their mills and factories. Similar suits were instituted between others.
The court ruled that the dam was built for public purposes, that the state had a right to declare that the surplus water arising from the improvement of the rivers belonged to the state, and that as the owner of the adjoining land did not avail, himself of the provision made by courts for damages to persons injured by the improvement of the river, the Water Works Company cannot now, after twenty-five years have elapsed, claim the land because of a failure to receive compensation.
Marshall K. Snell was an attorney at Seymour in the ’90s, but he left and located in Tacoma, Washington, when he went to the front of his profession; his wife was admitted to the bar of that city in 1898. The Appleton attorneys attended the bar convention at Marshfield early in January, 1893. T. W. Harriman was chosen secretary of one of the two conventions held there. At the meeting of the bar association in January, 1893, H. Pierce. L. E. Barnes and G. H. Dawson were appointed to draft a bill for the establishment of a municipal court at Appleton. John Bottensek and Charles H. Coates formed a partnership in October, 1896.
Albert H. Krugmeier opened an office in Appleton in 1899. T. R. Hudd died in June, 1896. Henry Kreiss was elected county judge in 1901. Henry W. Tenney died in 1903; he came here in 1879. In 1903 G. T. Moeskes retired from active practice as a member of the law firm of Pierce, Lehr & Moeskes. The vote for circuit judge in 1903 was as follows: Goodland (D.) 2,831; Bottensek (R.) 1,243; Goodrick, 672. The town of West Oneida did not vote. In 1904 F. W. Harriman and Joseph Koffend became law partners. Lyman E. Barnes died at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in January, 1904. A municipal court was talked of in 1904. Alfred Nugent, attorney of Kaukauna, died this year.
The act of March, 1905, redistricted the state into judicial circuits. The Tenth Judicial Circuit embraced the counties of Florence, Forest, Langlade, Outagamie and Shawano. There were eighteen circuits in the whole state.
In June, 1905, the terms of the circuit court were fixed the first Monday in March and the third Monday in September of each year.
The trial of W. E. Kabst for the murder of Michael McCarty occurred in 1908; he received a life sentence. In 1906 there were on the court calendar 69 cases, of which 13 were criminal.
In November, 1906, definite steps to establish a municipal court were taken. Senator F. M. Wilcox delivered a long and strong speech to the county board explaining the benefits of such a court. He was assisted by A. H. Krugmeier and others. During the winter of 1906-7 a bill calling for the establishment of such a court was introduced in the legislature. When this fact became known, and it further became known that such a bill was likely to pass, twenty members of the Outagamie County Bar Association met at the court room in March, 1907, to consider the municipal court bill pending in the legislature, which asked for such a court in all the county except the northern tiers of towns. After discussion a vote was taken and only three votes were registered against the bill — Pierce and Clark of Appleton and Hosting of Kaukauna. Accordingly, a petition asking for the passage of the bill was prepared and forwarded to the legislature. Already, by March 11, the bill had been passed by the senate. The bill passed the house by 54 to 33, was signed by the governor and thus became a law. This act necessitated the election of a municipal judge in April.
There were two candidates for municipal judge — Thomas H. Ryan (D.) and J. E. Lehr (R.) The Post and many republicans, regardless of politics, supported Mr. Ryan, who was elected by a large majority.
At the end of the first year of the existence of the municipal court the lawyers of the county were a unit as to its usefulness and success. Mr. Wilcox, its father, and Judge Ryan, its interpreter, were greatly pleased with the results.
The act of March 21, 1907, created and established the municipal court of Outagamie county and constituted it a court of record with a seal. The court was to be held in the court house in Appleton, and at least one day in each week at Kaukauna. The first judge was to be elected in April, 1907, and every four years thereafter. His salary was first fixed at $1,800 per year, but later at $2,500 per year.
“The said municipal court shall have and exercise powers and jurisdiction equal and concurrent with the circuit court of Outagamie county in all cases of crimes and misdemeanors arising in said county except the crimes of murder and manslaughter.” The court was also given jurisdiction in all civil actions, both in law and in equity, concurrent with that of the circuit court, but with certain restrictions and limitations. The judge was prohibited from practicing law, from giving legal advice and from being retained while holding the position.
On May 1, when Judge Ryan took his seat on the municipal bench for the first time, he was surprised with a visit from the entire local bar that could attend. He was asked for an expression of his opinion, and replied, “This is a new position for me and one in which I have had no experience, but I intend to study and I hope to give so fair and impartial an administration that your sentiment at the close of my term of office will be as warm toward the court as it is at this auspicious opening. We have a bar in this county that is second to none, and there is nothing I count on more for the success of the court than the support and co-operation of the attorneys who will practice before me.” Felicitous and complimentary speeches were made by Judge Goodland, Humphrey Pierce, Mr. Krugmeier, Judge Kreiss, Mr. Bottensek, Mr. Spencer, Mr. Clark, Cary, Lehr, Erb and others. Amusing and witty sallies and railleries passed back and forth, rendering the occasion a memorable one. All congratulated the new judge and wished him every success. An amendment to the law was passed in July, 1907.
During the first four years of the municipal court 1,579 cases were filed, of which 938 were of justice court procedure; 292 civil, 137 city of Appleton cases; circuit court procedure, 136 civil and 76 criminal cases.
“There is perhaps no department of justice in Outagamie county that has received more publicity for the length of time that it has been in existence than the municipal court. Although only in its second year, the court has meted out to large numbers various degrees of punishment. Since it was established, May 1, 1907, and up to December 31, 1908, there were heard by Judge Ryan 431 criminal actions, 93 civil actions and 56 actions under the city ordinances. The total of fines collected and paid the county treasurer was $1,765.20; total paid city treasurer, $195.70; total paid in officers’ fees, $337.17.” — (Post, January 7, 1909.)
Pierce and Bradford formed a law partnership in December, 1909. Judge John Goodland was 79 years old in August, 1909. The law of 1909 gave the municipal court jurisdiction in divorce cases. Judge heard his first case in August; special divorce counsel was provided for.
In January, 1909, there were four candidates for the circuit judgeship in this county. A meeting of the bar was held for the purpose, if possible, of eliminating all but one; this was done in order to prevent such strife as would lose the office to this county. A committee to see if this could be accomplished was appointed — Spencer, Pierce and Clossen. The committee finally decided to hold a mail primary if the candidates would consent. The candidates were John Bottensek, Frank S. Bradford, John Goodland and Fred M. Wilcox. The names of the four were to be sent out and voters were asked to place an X opposite the one of their choice. Mr. Clark, a candidate, refused to enter the primary vote. Mr. Pierce refused to become a candidate. Tickets with the four names were sent throughout the county and the following was the result in February: Goodland, 3,884; Bradford, 1,582; Bottensek, 1,166; Wilcox, 887. This was a unique and unusual experiment, but it told what the voters thought and saved trouble and expense. On the tickets the voters took advantage to express their sentiments generally in such remarks as the following: “Asleep at the switch”; “Only a stenographer”; “Always on the fence”; “Likes money too well”; “Had a good job”; “Thinks before he speals”; “Speaks before he thinks”; “Let well enough alone”; “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t”; “Sleepy hollow”; “No legal training”; “My choice”; “Always out of office”; “God bless the judge.” At the April election the following was the result: Goodland, 4,409; Hogan, 1,031; Sillett, 663; Clark, 42.
Judge Samuel Boyd died suddenly in March, 1907; he graduated from Lawrence University in 1859 and from the Albany (New York) Law School in 1861. He began to practice here at once and continued thus engaged until his death. He was a sound lawyer and a useful and prominent citizen.
In May, 1909, Glen Morse, clerk of the circuit court, was struck by an outgoing passenger train near the insane asylum and so badly injured that he died in a few minutes; he drove on the track and did not see the approaching train until too late.
Wilcox & Wilcox, attorneys, opened an office in Kaukauna in February, 1910. William Kennedy died at the Northern Hospital in 1910. City Attorney Joseph Chopin of Kaukauna died in January, 1910; he began practicing there about 1898-9.
The attorneys of Appleton in 1910 were as follows: George B. Baldwin, Francis S. Bradford, C. G. Cannon, Paul V. Cary, Frank E. Clark, O. E. Clark, J. P. Frank, F. E. Harriman, Fred V. Heinemann, Edward G. Jones, George C. Jones, A. H. Kellogg, Joseph Koffend, Jr., A. H. Krugmeier, Elmer J. Lehr, Humphrey Pierce, F. J. Rooney, Henry D. Ryan, A. C. Siekman, H. C. Sloan, A. M. Spencer, Wilcox & Wilcox.
EDUCATION AND IMPROVEMENT.
SCHOOLS were taught in what is now Outagamie county long before the county was organized and while it was yet a part of Brown county. Appropriate mention of such will be found in the chapter on settlement. It is said that as early as 1823 a free school was taught in the mission house at Kaukalin by Miss Electa Quinney; afterwards others were taught there from time to time. In fact, schools were taught in this county before 1848, when the first houses of Appleton village proper were erected. The town of Kaukalin had had an existence since 1839 and by 1846 there was quite a white settlement scattered along Fox River, and several schools are known to have been taught around or near Kaukauna and the old settlements in Buchanan, Freedom and Grand Chute towns.
A big meeting was held in the courthouse in Green Bay on May 14, 1849, to take into consideration the question of adopting a uniform system of public instruction. Erastus Root, state superintendent, was present and addressed the meeting. It was resolved, “That it is expedient at the present time to organize a teachers’ Institute for Brown county; that the principle of gradation of schools should be incorporated into the common school system of the state of Wisconsin.” The Institute was duly organized and a constitution adopted. Congressman Morgan L. Martin was active in the movement; he was chosen president of the institute.
“In the winter of 1847 Reeder Smith applied to Amos A. Lawrence of Boston for a subscription to the Albion Institute of Michigan. Mr. Lawrence told him that he had instructed his agent at Green Bay to make a present to the Wisconsin conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of $10,000 to establish an institute of learning to be located on Fox River between Lake Winnebago and Green Bay, provided the conference would give a like sum and take charge of it. Mr. Smith obtained the promise of Mr. Lawrence to present the proposition to the Methodists of Wisconsin, and accordingly came west and laid the matter before Rev. Henry Colman, Rev. W. H. Sampson and others of Fond du Lac. After consultation they visited Milwaukee and further discussed measures with the church authorities there. They then appealed to the legislature for a charter for the school to be called Lawrence Institute. The charter was readily obtained through Elisha Morrow, then member from Brown county. The matter was then submitted to the conference at its annual session and the proposition of Mr. Lawrence was accepted, and Rev. Mr. Sampson was appointed to secure $10,000 by selling 100 scholarships, which he proceeded to do. The charter members of the board of trustees of Lawrence Institute later met at Fond du Lac and organized, and authorized Reeder Smith to act as agent, and appointed George E. A. Day, Reeder Smith and H. L. Blood a committee to report upon the location of the institute. The committee decided on Grand Chute, now Appleton. The report was accepted by the trustees and Reeder Smith was appointed to secure the land for that purpose and draw on Mr. Lawrence for the purchase money. The land was then owned by G. W. Lawe and J. F. Meade, two fractional ’80s. Mr. Lawe refused to sell, but gave 31 acres to the institute. Mr. Meade also gave 31 acres, and sold the balance of the land for a nominal price. In the end Mr. Smith managed to get the whole of the Meade tract deeded to Mr. Lawrence in one deed, by which the institute was deprived of the 31 acres. A committee consisting of W. H. Sampson, Reeder Smith and H. L. Blood came to Grand Chute the fore part of August, 1848, and laid out the Appleton plat. Mr. Smith then began to sell lots in Mr. Lawrence’s name and received the proceeds, while Mr. Lawrence paid for the improvements, and the institute paid Mr. Smith for his services as agent.” — (H. L. B., in Crescent, January 15, 1870.) This H. L. B. was no doubt H. L. Blood, who was familiar with all the circumstances as above narrated.
The Institute was first opened in November, 1849. The first board of trustees of Lawrence University were Charles H. Lindsley, Hoel S. Wright, Robert R. Bateman, William H. Sampson, Albert G. Ellis, Henry R. Colman, John S. Prescott, Seth W. Ford, M. C. Darling, Henry L. Blood, George E. H. Day, Sereno Fisk and Austin Kellogg. Members of the faculty were Romulus 0. Kellogg, A. B., teacher of ancient languages; James M. Phinney, teacher of mathematics and natural sciences; Miss Emeline E. Crooker, preceptress, teacher of music, drawing and painting; Miss L. Amelie Dayton, teacher of modern languages. The first year 56 gentlemen and 49 ladies were enrolled as students. Rev. Edward Cooke soon became president and professor of moral and intellectual science, and Rev. William H. Sampson, teacher of mathematics and the English branches.
In 1846, Amos Lawrence of Boston conceived the idea of establishing a university in the west. He said: “I have proposed this enterprise to my son, and he will offer to give into the hands of your people $10,000 for a college in Wisconsin, to be paid when you raise $10,000 more for the same object. My son, Amos A. Lawrence, will make the offer to you to establish an institution of learning where one will be much needed, and if you go there and meet his views he will help you on with the undertaking liberally.” The son wrote for advice to Bishop Alonzo Potter of Philadelphia, and Rev. John S. Stone, rector of Christ’s Church, Brooklyn, to which letter they replied as follows:
“Mr. Amos A. Lawrence of Boston having consulted me in respect to the plan and incipient operating of the Wisconsin institution, I cheerfully state that I advise that the beginning be made on a moderate scale, and that no attempt be made at first to organize more than the preparatory department, and that much attention be given to the preparation of teachers for common schools.”
“I fully concur in the wisdom of the above advice given bv Bishop Potter.”
“JOHN S. STONE, D. D.”
This concurrence was accompanied by $100 from himself and $500 from his son, who was also an Episcopal minister.
Amos A. Lawrence thereupon wrote to Rev. Reeder Smith, then at Chicago, asking him to attend the conference soon to be held there and have the project carried into effect. He conveyed the $10,000 to trustees, to be held by them until another $10,000 should be secured for the same purpose. He said in this letter: “I should prefer that this institution be placed under the control of the Methodists rather than any other, excepting my own church (Protestant Episcopal). I have a high opinion of the adaptation of the principles of the Methodists to the people of the west, and I think from all I can learn that their institutions are carried on with more vigor and diffuse more good with the same means than any other. I will co-operate with them in all that is necessary for its establishment and organization.”
This proposition was favorably considered by the conference of Wisconsin. At the same time Rev. Reeder Smith was requested to act for the conference in procuring the means and adopting the measures necessary to the permanent establishment of Lawrence University of Wisconsin. For that purpose he was subsequently appointed financial agent. Rev. Mr. Smith was highly recommended by Michigan statesmen who knew of his relations with the Albion Seminary, which was established largely through his efforts. An assembly of fifty clergymen in New York concurred in the high opinion entertained of Rev. Mr. Smith. Thus Mr. Lawrence and the Rock River Conference committed the project to that gentleman. By 1860 its condition was as follows:
Normal instruction and English literature were paid for by the state, which left all the chairs of the college proper except one without endowment. The fire which occurred in 1857 destroyed the building occupied by the female and preparatory department, 200 students being thrown out. What was wanted in 1860 was:
Of this $50,000 was asked from the east for endowment and $23,000 from the west. Anson Ballard gave $1,000; Theodore Conkey, $1,000, and Reeder Smith $7,000, toward the institution.
By an act of the legislature signed by the governor March 21, 1849, an amendment to the original charter was made changing the name from Lawrence Institute to Lawrence University; and it was also provided that the annual income of $10,000 might be increased to $60,000. In 1848-9, a building 30×70 feet, and three stories high, was erected, the first story being built of stone. It was but a short time until the building was overcrowded. In 1852, another structure was built for boarding purposes exclusively. Such was the beginning of Lawrence University. It was founded for the purpose of providing a “Christian education,” with the belief that an all-round education involved the moral character as well as the intellect; and the spirit in which the work was undertaken was exceedingly liberal. While the University was founded by men of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been dominated by men of that religious faith, no religious restrictions have been placed upon professor or student. Rev. Edward Cooke, A. M., was elected president in 1852, but did not qualify until the summer of 1853. The first enrollment of students was about 35. In 1853 the cornerstone of the present college building was laid, its dimensions being 120×60 feet, with four stories and a basement. In 1855, from the bequest of the estate of Samuel Appleton of Boston, $10,000 was received, the income from this sum being for the enlargement of the library. About this time a cabinet was established for the collection and preservation of minerals, fossils, shells, maps, diagrams, curiosities, and a well-arranged herbarium. In 1891, the valuable conchological collection of Dr. J. J. Brown of Sheboygan was added, and the same year contributions were made by Hon. John Hicks of archaeological specimens obtained in Peru. In the course of time everything was added to facilitate in making Lawrence University second to none in the west. It was early seen that the original donation of Mr. Lawrence would be inadequate to meet the demands of the growth and development of the institution. In 1853, the trustees, in order to raise $100,000, offered for sale 2,000 scholarships, each of which should entitle the holder perpetually to the tuition of one scholar in the preparatory department or in the college, or both; $50 was the price of each scholarship and $30,000 were pledged on this plan, and this, for a time, met the requirements of the trustees. At different periods Lawrence University, like most other similar institutions, has been materially aided by the philanthropic. In 1860, Hon. Lee Claflin gave property to the amount of $10,000; in 1885, C. N. Paine bequeathed $50,000, which became available in 1891; the estate of William Drown gave $10,000. These were but a few of the many contributing friends of the university. In June, 1889, largely through the gift of D. G. Ormsby of Milwaukee, the beautiful brick and stone structure known as Ormsby Hall, was dedicated. Under the leadership of Prof. L. W. Underwood was completed, in 1901, Underwood Observatory, equipped with modern instruments, the ten-inch aperture telescope being the gift of Philetus Sawyer. Rev. Edward Cooke, was succeeded as president in 1860 by Rev. Russell Zelotes Mason, and he in turn by Rev. George McKendree Steele in 1865; Rev. E. D. Huntley in 1879; Rev. B. P. Raymond in 1884; Rev. C. W. Gallagher in 1889; Rev. Samuel Plantz in 1894 and since occupying the presidency.
Rev. William Harkness Sampson was born September 13, 1808, at Brattleboro, Vermont, and died February 5, 1902, at Tacoma, Washington. Educated at Ovid Academy and Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. Accepted the Christian faith when twenty-one, and in 1834 was licensed to preach. In 1842 was transferred to the Rock River Conference and first stationed at Milwaukee. In 1844 was made presiding elder of the Green Bay (subsequently the Fond du Lac) district. Became an educator of note. Taught in public schools of New York State, was principal of Schoolcraft Academy, Michigan, and also Carlisle Academy, Indiana. Was one of the original men instrumental in founding Lawrence Institute and its successor, Lawrence University. Was the first principal of the institute and first president of the university. He resumed the ministry and served as presiding elder of the Milwaukee district. In 1838 he was married to Rhoda Beebe and after her death, in 1885, to Mrs. S. Kate Luther. He was a man whose love of his fellow man and the desire to do lasting good, were his principal actuating forces.
Edward Cooke, D. D., was the second president of Lawrence University. He was one of the ablest men who ever occupied this position. In 1853, at the age of forty, he became head of the university, and thus continued for a period of six years. He came here with the ripe experience of eighteen years in principalship of eastern seminaries and in pastorates at Boston and other cities of the east. His lectures, orations and sermons were replete with eloquence and grace. His work here left an indelible impress upon the minds of those with whom he came in contact. Rev. Russell Zelotes Mason, LL. D., was president of Lawrence University from 1859 to 1865. When he came here there was no railroad at Appleton, and he found an indebtedness of $20,000. Through his masterful efforts the indebtedness was paid off and $20,000 for endowment purposes was procured. He was an able educator, a Christian in all his walks of life and a man of unusual force and character. George McKendree Steele, D. D., LL. D., who died January 14, 1902, was president of Lawrence University from 1865 to 1879. His influence upon the students was unmeasured. No fair and open-minded student came under his influence without attaining higher ideals. He was, perhaps, the ablest instructor in the university during his time. Elias DeWitt Huntley, D. D., LL. D., during his presidency of Lawrence University, from 1879 to 1883, accomplished much good in raising the standard of education and in directing toward the university a large fund for its use and betterment. His health broke under the strain of the administration, but he lived to rejoice in the successes which crowned the later years of the life of the institution which occupied a warm spot in his affections. Dr. Charles W. Gallagher, D. D., was a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and of early New England ancestry. He was graduated from Chelsea High school in 1865 and from the Wesleyan University in 1870. Prior to entering the Methodist ministry he was principal of the Austin Academy at Austin, Nevada. He was a preacher of the Methodist faith in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, and served as presiding elder from 1887 until 1889. In the latter year he became president of Lawrence University and served until 1893. His work, like that of his predecessors, was for the general good and has contributed in placing Lawrence University among the leading educational institutions of the west. He was an author of note and a man of the highest character and achievements.
Samuel Plantz, D. D., Ph. D., president of Lawrence University, was born at Grovesville, New York, June 13, 1859, son of James and Eliza Plantz. Parents moved to Wisconsin in 1860. Samuel attended public schools of Rock county, Milton College and in 1880 was graduated from Lawrence University with the B. of A. degree; then took a three-years’ course in the theological department of Boston University, winning the S. T. B. degree of that institution. In 1886 was graduated from the School of All Science of Boston University with the Ph. D. degree. In 1890-91 studied at Berlin, Germany. Served as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church for a number of years. Married Myra Goodwin September 16, 1885, and has two daughters, Elsie and Florence. Became president of Lawrence University in 1894 and has since served as such. Was one of the organizers of the Epworth League. Is a member of Victoria Institute, London; Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, and is the Wisconsin State Director of Religious Association of America. Was appointed a trustee of the $10,000,000 fund established by Andrew Carnegie for pensioning retired college professors.
The public school system of Appleton had its origin in the fall of 1851, when the town of Grand Chute was organized into a school district, known as No.1. W. S. Warner was first clerk. It was determined to have a free school in the winter of 1851-2. Daniel Huntley was put in charge of this school — in a rude building at Oneida street and College avenue. He taught singing school in the evenings. He was paid $28 per month and boarded himself. He had about 60 pupils. Rev. W. H. Sampson was their town superintendent of schools. The city, and therefore the schools, grew from three points — Grand Chute, Appleton and Lawesburg. The latter took advantage of the university school, but the former founded a new district in 1852, which afterward became the Third district. James Gilmore was the first teacher, in a building at Lawrence and Elm streets. Joseph Rork succeeded Mr. Huntley in 1853-4. The first woman teacher was Mary Hillard, in 1853-4. A school house was built on the site of the old Hercules, which burned in 1854.
Mr. Whitman, as teacher and superintendent, served eleven years; Mr. Conkey served as superintendent twelve years; Mr. Schmidt was principal for fourteen years; Mr. Burke worked as assistant six years and as principal more than a dozen years. Emma E. Bailey served in the schools twenty-two years; Annette C. Purdy served twenty-one years; Bertha A. Strong served twenty years and others for long periods.
“In respect to schools Appleton is more highly favored than any of its sister towns. In addition to three excellent common schools, we have a high school and the Lawrence University; all of which are amply supported. The university now has some seventy or eighty students. The main college buildings will be erected during the ensuing summer and fall. . . The high school, under the charge of Rev. Jabez Brooks, was designed to fill a vacuum which by many was felt to exist.” — (Crescent, February 17, 1853.) The Brooks High school was taught in Presbyterian hall.
The apportionment of school money for this county, as reported by the state superintendent in the spring of 1853, was as follows: Ellington, $16.20; Freedom, $45.90; Greenville, $18; Grand Chute, $144; Hortonia, $32.85; Kaukauna, $138.15; Lansing, $15.75; total, $410.85. The High school closed the spring term in 1853 with a literary exhibition.
“Caution.–All persons are cautioned against purchasing of the Lawrence University lots on any portion of the ‘Thirty-one Acre Tract’ situated between the village plats of Appleton and Lawesburg, as the said university has no right or authority to convey the same. — George W. Lawe, Appleton, June 4, 1853.”
“The brick for the college is now being hauled into town from the brickyard about two and one-half miles distant. The college contract calls for 400,000; the outer walls and main subdivisions being built of stone.” — (Crescent, July 16, 1853.)
By January, 1854, Lawrence University had already furnished over twenty teachers for the common schools in this and other counties. This fact was fully appreciated by the early pioneers because of the lack of competent and experienced teachers in the settlement. So rapidly grew the attendance at the university that the leading hotels of the town were transformed into boarding houses. The Edgarton, Crescent and National hotels were thus transformed into dormitories for the students. Bowen’s hotel was destroyed by fire. It was now declared that a new hotel was needed in Appleton by the traveling public.
“The Eclipse. — President Cooke has erected a large telescope on the college grounds and many will take a good look at the sun this Friday afternoon.”- (Crescent, May 27, 1854.)
Late in April, the number of students registered at Lawrence University was 207, an increase of forty over the preceding term. “The state university, with the power, influence and money of the state to support it, cannot show one-sixth as many students, and as to the literary reputation of the two institutions, it is only necessary to remark that the Lawrence University is universally acknowledged to be much superior to any high school, college or university in the western states.” — (Crescent, April 13, 1854.)
In June, it was announced that the building for another collegiate department of the university would be commenced immediately and completed in about twelve months. Already stone was on the ground. The site selected was ten or fifteen rods north of College avenue and opposite the new college.
The capstone of Lawrence University was laid May 27, amidst the cheers of a large crowd and the inspiring strains of the Appleton Saxhorn band. The cornerstone of this building was laid eleven months before.
On July 28, the schools of Appleton assembled in the grove near the central school house under the direction of their teachers, Miss Marian Ellis and Miss Myra Boynton and duly celebrated the day. The former had in charge 126 scholars and the latter over 50. These teachers acquitted themselves during the past year entirely to the satisfaction of parents and pupils. The exercises were conducted under the direction of Joseph Rork, superintendent of the town of Grand Chute. Rev. Elmore Yocum delivered the principal address. Prof. James M. Phinney read a communication from Samuel Ryan, Jr., who had been invited to speak, but could not attend. The picnic dinner was all that could be desired and gave great satisfaction to the children.
By the middle of July, the chapel of the university was nearly finished and on the following Sunday was occupied for the first time. In August, the two district schools of Appleton gave a celebration, on which occasion 150 children were present and marched to the grove, where they enjoyed a picnic dinner prepared by the ladies. The central village school numbered 126 scholars. At this time there were three district schools in the villages.
In October, 1854, it was announced that 220 students were in attendance at the university. Accessions were afterwards made from day to day until there were about 250 in attendance. It was boasted by the Crescent that the faculty of the university was undoubtedly the ablest in the state. It was stated that if the finances of the institution could be made sufficient, the growth would be still greater.
From the report of the state superintendent of 1855 it is learned that there were in Outagamie county 23 school districts and five partial districts reported in 1854. There were reported by the clerk a total of 1,245 students between the ages of four and twenty years. The number between those ages attending county schools was 871. This was considered a large percentage for a backwoods county. The average wages paid male teachers was $19.81; female teachers, $10.94. The amount of money received for school purposes was $2,121.95. There was expended for wages of teachers, $1,432.87; value of school houses, $2,710. The amount appropriated in 1853 was $410.85; in 1854, $702. It was realized that this report was not as full an account as it might be, and therefore only approximately correct. At this date the number of students attending the university was over 300.
At the election for officers of the Second Ward school district in September, 1855, John F. Johnston was chosen director, Winfield Scott clerk, and Perry H. Smith treasurer. The district finances were in excellent condition. A special tax was voted to pay teachers, and school the coming year was to be taught ten months, five months by a male teacher with a female assistant, and five months by two female teachers. The sum of $30 was allowed for contingent expenses. Two Webster’s unabridged dictionaries were ordered bought for $80. The school children in this district numbered 226. The legislature authorized the school districts of Appleton and vicinity to unite with District 6 in the erection of a large school house and the establishment of a union school.
In May, 1856, J. S. Prescott and Rev. W. H. Sampson were engaged in a spirited controversy in the columns of the Northwestern Christian Advocate concerning the business methods of the Lawrence University. In their discussion these reverend gentlemen used extremely plain language. The Crescent said: “As both are ultra-abolitionists, the public will feel relieved. Such abolitionists must be forever quarrelling about something, so it is better for the people of the community that they should amuse the crowd by making mouths at each other.”
The Second ward school house was commenced in the fall, was soon completed two stories high, was built of brick and cost $3,000. A tax of $2,000 was previously voted for its construction. In the fall the school officials of the First ward of Appleton were as follows: Director, Joseph Stowe; treasurer, R. R. Bateman; clerk, J. M. Stebbins. Second ward: Director, T. M. McCaughey; treasurer, P. White; clerk, Anson Ballard. In October, M. L. Martin and Edgar Conklin of Green Bay, and Anson Ballard, Edward West and A. B. Jackson of Appleton, were elected trustees of Lawrence University. The election of these men meant that new efforts would be made to place the university on a better financial basis. Late in 1856, what was called the “Cling neighborhood,” in Appleton, made preparations to build a new school house for their own use. They previously occupied a poor structure which did good service, but which was now out of date and a better one was demanded.
In December, it was announced that Outagamie county contained twenty-five schools, with several more in process of erection. “This speaks well for a county only six years old.” In February 1857, the First ward school house, a building which cost about $600 but was worth much less, took fire and burned to the ground during the night. It was an unsightly edifice and a blot on a beautiful part of the village, and its destruction was not seriously regretted. Early this year the authorities of Lawrence University made preparations to erect a new building adjacent the college, to be used by the females in attendance. It was announced that $25,000 would have to be raised by subscription. The previous building occupied by the ladies had recently been destroyed by fire. After the destruction of the first building the young ladies recited in the main building, while rooms for them were secured in adjacent residences. The new building was known as the preparatory department building. Luckily, when the building burned, all the young ladies who had rooms therein were at church and therefore no lives were lost. The building, except its stone basement, was of wood. The students lost about $700 worth of clothing, goods, etc. “The real estate owned by Lawrence University was exempt from general taxation. In the spring of 1857 the trustees of the university platted and recorded an academy block in the Second ward and sold several lots. A portion of the block was reserved for university purposes. The Normal Institute was located thereon, but this block was not reserved. It was duly taxed, whereupon the county board, in order to free the university, appropriated a sufficient amount to pay the tax on the property.
Late in July, the citizens of Appleton proposed to raise a subscription of $10,000 with which to endow a chair of civil engineering in Lawrence University. At the first meeting they subscribed over $3,000. Other new chairs were to be endowed and the Methodists throughout Wisconsin were expected to raise the necessary funds.
About the middle of August, the Second ward school house, the bank building, and the county office building, all large brick structures, were nearly completed. In addition, large buildings were in process of construction by Adkins, Parrish, Blood, Carhart, Phinney and others. It was proposed to open Bingham & McGillan’s large stone quarry during the winter of 1857-8. Builders were waiting this event because they needed the stone.
There was complaint over the condition of the school territory within the corporate limits. Neglect to appoint a city superintendent had ruled, and the separation of the city from the town left parts of school districts lying in both sections. A re-organization of the city school districts was demanded. There was too much politics in school affairs, it was declared. The Crescent stated that political tricksters were handling the city school affairs much to their own profit and advantage. The following were the school directors of Appleton in 1857: First ward: Director, Isaac Beidleman; clerk, T. R. Hudd; treasurer, Wait Cross. Second ward: Director, T. M. McCaughey; clerk, Anson Ballard; treasurer, Peter White. Third ward: Director, L. L. Hulce; clerk, John Bonner; treasurer, George Rork.
It was stated in April, 1858, that schools and school houses were then to be found in every neighborhood in Outagamie county. Even in neighborhoods where the settlement was almost wholly of foreigners, schools had been started and usually school houses had been built. In the spring of 1859 the new school library law was put in operation in this county. The various towns made little effort to raise money to purchase books that should serve as a start for the library. At this date Lyman C. Draper was state superintendent of schools. Miss H. A. Carroll opened a select school in the First ward in a building situated at the corner of Washington and Union streets. The term was advertised to be twelve weeks in length, and the tuition $3 per term. This school was for small children. It was started to supply the want of a building which had been destroyed by fire. The First ward was at this time without a schoolhouse and Miss Carroll undertook to supply the want by starting a select school. Work on the Second ward schoolhouse in 1859 languished and a special meeting was called to adopt measures to finish the building; the increased attendance demanded the completion of the structure.
During the summer of 1859 the ward schools held extra terms of fourteen weeks and 121 scholars were enrolled. Two facts were brought out at this time, viz.: that the parents showed greater interest in the schools than ever before and many of the scholars attended constantly during the term.
In July Prof. R. Z. Mason was chosen acting president of Lawrence University by the board of that institution. Governor Randall was president of the board of trustees at that time. Aside from the lack of cash capital the university was in better condition at this date than ever before. It had a better faculty and a better curriculum than at any previous time in its history.
In July it was intimated that Appleton should have a high school. It was suggested that the different wards should unite in a union system with graded schools in order that the city could organize from all a high school for advanced pupils. About the middle of November the second story of the Second ward schoolhouse was completed. This building was now pronounced one of the best school structures in the state. The building was used during the winter of 1859-60 for a high school; one of the first in this portion of the state.
A teachers’ institute was held in Appleton commencing October 10, 1859, and was continued for one week. The meetings were held in the College chapel. Various educational questions were discussed and the professors of the university every day gave addresses to the assembled teachers. The institute, though the first, was pronounced a success. Each day a different chairman presided, Professor Powers being the first. J. J. Fuller served as secretary for all the meetings. A. J. Craig of Palmyra lectured on “Our Common School System.” C. H. Allen spoke on the subject of common schools. Messrs. Loomis, Davies and Seaman were a committee to select question for public debate. At the second meeting topics in arithmetic were explained. Mr. Gaylord of the Oshkosh high school spoke on school government. This day a class in grammar was conducted by one of the professors of the University. Professor Mason addressed the institute on school government. On the second day Mr. Davies read an essay on teachers’ institutes which was well received. Mr. Allen conducted a class in geography. The subject of spelling classes was discussed by the institute. Dr. Brainard, chancellor of the State University spoke on the subject of public instruction. Classes in mental and regular arithmetic were conducted on the third day. The subject of English composition was discussed on the third day. Professor Powers read one on the subject of emulation. Other subjects discussed were merit and demerit, responsibility of teachers, teaching grammar, etc. The exercises were interesting and instructive, and at its close the first institute was pronounced a success.
“Our Second ward school will bear comparison with that of any city in this famous state of schools. The First ward is erecting a handsome and spacious edifice. The Third ward will soon follow this elaborate example; then Appleton means to challenge all Wisconsin to excel her in educational facilities.” — Motor, July 1860.)
Early in August, 1860, Mrs. Burt opened the second term of’ her select school in Appleton. B. K. Seaman was superintendent of the First ward public school. He was a graduate of the New York State Normal School. The Second ward public school was superintended by Prof. J. F. Fuller, who had been previously at the head of similar institutions elsewhere. By September the new First ward schoolhouse was nearly completed. It was about 30 by 40 feet in the clear inside and was capped with a steeple. It was built with a large basement to be used if necessary for furnaces and ultimately for heating with hot air. The cost of the building completed was estimated at $2,000. Bates and Williamson were the builders. This insignificant building was regarded as an imposing structure in those days.
In the First ward school district in the fall of 1860 a tax of $1,200 was voted for the ensuing year; of this amount $200 was to, be used to furnish seats or desks for the new building. It was determined to hold schools nine months during the year. An intermediate department was added at this time. The new house was one of the handsomest in this portion of the state. The children of this district numbered about 250; in the Second ward school district a tax of $700 was voted in 1860; of this sum $400 was required for teachers’ wages. It was announced that school would be kept ten months. There were primary, intermediate and grammar departments. The number of school children in this district was 535.
In the First ward school in December, 1860, the higher department had 47 scholars and the primary 68. The latter was under the supervision of Watson Seaman, a young man of Appleton.
In March, 1861, Dr. Edward Cooke, who had so long served as president of Lawrence University and who had greatly endeared himself to the students and the citizens, resigned the presidency in order to take up arduous duties in another field connected with the Methodist church. Resolutions deploring his departure were passed by the students and by the citizens in several meetings. At the August session of the board of trustees of Lawrence University, Professor Mason was unanimously re-elected president. This action met with the approval of the students and citizens.
“General Appleton Dead. — This distinguished citizen died on the 5th inst. He had been considered one of the most liberal wealthy men of the country. He gave $10,000 to establish the library of Lawrence University, in consideration of which this place was named Appleton. His death will be mourned by many throughout the country.” — (Crescent, June 8, 1861.)
In the spring and summer of 1863 the students of the university formed bodies and made great improvements in beautifying the grounds. They set out trees, cleared away the rubbish and leveled down the ridges. It was not generally known to the people that in Outagamie county there were large tracts of forfeited school lands which could be secured by settlers on very easy terms. These lands comprised many of the best tracts for farming purposes in the county. As soon as it became generally known there was a great rush to secure this valuable property.
In November, 1862, Mr. Gerrits, county superintendent of schools, furnished the following statistics: Outagamie county was divided into 64 school districts and 6 parts of districts; it had 20 log schoolhouses, 37 frame schoolhouses and one brick schoolhouse. The lowest valuation of any one of the buildings was $10, the highest (in Appleton) was $5,500; the total valuation of all schoolhouses in the county was $19,313. The number of school children over four and under twenty years of age was 3,982. Appleton reported 953 children, Bovina 110, Buchanan 137, Center 174, Dale 235, Ellington 273, Freedom 313, Grand Chute 396, Greenville 494, Hortonia 318, Kaukauna 367, Liberty 54, Maple Creek 107, Osborn 31. There was an average of about 57 school children to each school district. The average monthly wages paid to male teachers was $22.88, to female teachers $13.63. The amount received for teachers’ wages was $4,885. The amount received for erecting schoolhouses was $1,877. There were 13 schoolhouses without blackboards and 40 without outline maps. The district school libraries numbered 282 volumes, of which 187 were loaned out during the year. The superintendent reported that although many of the teachers had resigned and gone to the army their places had been filled without serious injury to the schools. He stated that school boards were co-operating with him in securing better conditions and facilities.
Persons licensed to teach in Outagamie County in 1862: Hortonia — John D. Axtell, A. F. Tucker, J. D. Van Vleck, John Ross, R. W. Logan, Miss C. A. Sperry, Miss M. F. Waterman, Miss Rosanna Jack, Miss O. M. Whitman, Miss Julia Kelsey, Miss McMurdo and Miss Sarah E. Clark.
Maple Creek — H. S. Lyon, Miss Margaret Stewart, Miss Mary J. Spence and Miss Jane Houston.
Stephensville — S. L. Main, A. G. Ware, Miss J. A. Barclay, Miss Kate Hammond, Miss Alestia Gurney, Miss Ellen Kethroe, Miss E. H. Ware and Miss Melissa L. Hoskins.
Grand Chute — Clarence A. Heath, Miss Flora A. Broggins, Miss Celia L. Earle, Miss Effie L. Robinson, Miss L. M. Scarboro and Miss A. 0. Lanphear.
Freedom — Miss E. E. Wolcott, Miss Josie B. Marston and Miss Permelia J. Fashway.
Little Chute — John Jannsen and Mr. Smith.
Appleton — J. F. Fuller, B. K. Seaman, R. W. Seaman, Milo Bloomer, J. L. Bloomer and Misses M. A. Pratt, L. A. Sanborn, A. B. Sherwood, A. E. Aiken, E. L. and H. A. Bates, A. E. Talcott, N. M. Phelps, Hattie and Helen Merriman, Carrie White, H. C. and Emily Beach, N. A. Gilbert, M. S. Galpin, E. S. Lanphear and E. L. McNeill.
Five of the persons secured their educations in the Second ward school, Appleton, under the instruction of J. F. Fuller.
Early in 1864 Superintendent Driscoll visited every school district throughout the county and endeavored to secure a uniformity in methods and classification. In this he was assisted by the teachers.
Late in March the county superintendent made a full report on the condition of the schools in the county. He stated that there was a total of 68 schoolhouses attended by 2,994 pupils during 1863. In the 68 schoolhouses 47 schools were taught by female teachers during the past winter with a success equal if not superior to those taught by men. He regarded as unjust that such women should be paid less than men for the same services. He spoke particularly of the excellence of the schools taught by Messrs. Cooke and Boggins, and by Miss Whitman, Miss Blaizdell of Hortonville, Miss Scarboro and Miss Lanphear of Grand Chute, and Miss Webb of Appleton. He pronounced these schools excellent. He said that the greatest hindrances to the advancement of the schools of the county were, first, a multiplicity of textbooks; second, ill-furnished and incommodious schoolhouses; third, the frequent change of teachers; fourth, the irregularity of attendance; fifth, neglect of visitation, and sixth, multiplicity of cheap teachers — those who taught for the money and cared little or nothing for the advancement of the pupils.
In July this county contained 4,220 school children between the ages of 4 and 20 years. It was noted at this time that there was a preponderance of young women over young men, and it was presumed that this was caused by the enlistment of so many young men in the army.
The county superintendent in August announced that there would be held a teachers’ institute in this county during the fall in order to give teachers an opportunity of improving themselves for the winter schools. All were requested to attend in order to fit themselves more fully for their duties as instructors. The county board at the August session passed a resolution recommending the act passed August, 1863, in relation to the city’s being exempt from the county under the county school superintendent system.
The teachers of the county assembled in September and were examined and drilled by Col. J. G. McMinn, agent of the State Normal school board. The exercises proved efficient and instructing. The session continued for one week and all the better teachers of the county were present. Lectures on educational subjects by prominent educators were delivered in the college chapel to the assembled teachers.
The county superintendent in his report in October, 1864, stated that he believed no county in the state could boast of a corps of teachers that gave such universal satisfaction during the past season as the teachers in this county. The schools were largely conducted by females owing to the fact that the young men in the county had mostly enlisted in the army. He spoke particularly of Miss O. M. Whitman of Hortonville, and stated that she had worked a complete revolution in the schools of that village. He also named Miss 0. A. Lanphear, Miss M. Phelps, Miss C. Calhoun, Miss Tichnor and Miss Weed of Appleton; also Miss L. Scarbourgh, Miss Barns and Miss M. Pearson of Grand Chute. All of these teachers he recommended highly and said their schools were far above the average. He reported that there were very few school libraries in the county, and complained about the irregularity of attendance and the attempts to teach sectarianism in the schools. He stated that the latter question was a delicate one, but that sooner or later he believed all religious instruction would have to be excluded from the public schools.
A special meeting of the board of education called by J. F. Fuller, city superintendent of Appleton, was held in the council chamber April 24, 1865. The meeting was called for the purpose of adopting uniform textbooks to be used in the public schools. After deliberation the following list was agreed upon: Wilson’s readers to the fourth reader, Robinson’s arithmetics, Monteith and McNally’s geographies, Quackenboss’s Five Lessons in Composition, Clark’s grammar. At this and subsequent meetings it was determined to hold three terms of school each year in Appleton. Among the resolutions adopted were the following: “The morning exercises of each department shall commence with the reading of the scriptures without word of comment, and that exercise may be followed by repeating the Lord’s prayer and by appropriate singing.”
In 1865 Miss 0. Lanphear was teacher in district No. 7, town of Grand Chute. She had taught a year and gave general satisfaction. Miss H. Johnson taught in district No. 5, same town. In the town of Buchanan, Miss Mary Phelps taught in district No. 6, and Miss Clark in district No. 3.
County Superintendent C. Driscoll reported in April, 1865, that during the past winter he had visited every school except two or three in the county, and found they surpassed his most sanguine hopes. Parents took a deeper interest; teachers were better prepared and more efficient; children showed more interest and advanced with greater rapidity, and the petty quarrels of the neighborhoods over school affairs had almost wholly subsided. The superintendent expatiated on the efficiency of the teachers of the county. What he particularly noticed was the fact that they had a graded system and a better classification of studies and had separated children of different ages and qualifications. He spoke particularly of the schools taught by C. Cooke in the town of Greenville, Philo Root in the town of Dale, Miss Whitney in the village of Hortonville, the Misses Earle, L. Lanphear, Heath, Webb and Scarboro in the city of Appleton. He complained that the school libraries were still missing and urged that they should be commenced in every district at the earliest possible moment. He lamented that in two schools sectarianism had spoiled the sessions during the winter. He stated that the trouble was caused by the teacher introducing his or her own religious opinion in the schoolroom. He insisted that this was beyond the province of a teacher and requested that such conduct should cease in the future.
A school for the education of the Catholics was opened in the Third ward of Appleton in September. They made immediate preparations at this time to build a schoolhouse near the church. The attendance of this school within a few weeks reached over one hundred. At this time also the Catholics made preparations to double the capacity of their church by enlarging it. It was stated that not more than one-half of the congregation could be accommodated with seats.
There was a great demand in November for school teachers who were competent and who would remain permanently in the county. Too many school boards were obliged to import teachers whose capacity were wholly unknown, or else to employ local men or women who had not received suitable training.
“Our opinion is unchanged as to the inexpediency of the Agricultural College scheme. We prefer to ask Congress for authority to transfer the agricultural grant to the school fund. Farmers, like other people, prefer to educate their sons at colleges of their own denomination or location preferably. A state institution of the kind will not, from the very nature of things, prove a success, but certainly will entail a yearly expense of twenty to thirty thousand dollars upon tax payers. It will be cheaper to support the dubious faculty out of the poor fund of their respective localities.” — (Crescent, January 27, 1866.)
In the spring of 1866 J. F. Fuller, superintendent of the city schools, reported 135 pupils enrolled in District No. 1 in Appleton, in District No. 2 there were 184, in District No. 3 there were 92, and in District No. 4 there were 36. The per cent of daily attendance was very low, varying from 73 per cent to 87 per cent. The teachers in District No. 1, were A. F. Cleveland and M. N. Hill; in District No. 2, Mrs. H. H. Bacon, L. M. Whittlesey and M. J. Walker; and in District No. 3, G. E. Stowe and A. B. Sherwood; and B. M. Strom in the 4th District. Later Miss E. J. Damon succeeded A. F. Cleveland, and Miss J. E. Kinney succeeded Mr. G. E. Stowe.
The city superintendent of schools of Appleton issued a statement in June, showing that the number of scholars in attendance during the first term of the school year was 526; the second term, 547, and the third term, 529; the percentage of attendance was only 72 in the first and second terms and 85 in the third. The number of visitors in the first term was 171; in the second term, 260, and in the third term, 640.
The annual school meetings were held in every ward of Appleton late in August. In the First ward the citizens voted $1,500 for wages, etc.; in the Second ward the citizens voted $1,650 for wages and incidentals; in the Third ward they voted $960. This ward was scored by the newspapers for not building a respectable brick schoolhouse costing from $6,000 to $8,000. In the Fourth ward the tax voted was $410; this was a small ward and needed no large amount.
In the fall of 1866, John Stephens, county superintendent, took definite steps to improve the condition of the schoolhouses of the county. Many seats were too narrow; others had no backs, and he demanded improvement in these respects. He insisted that desks suitable to write upon should be procured for each schoolhouse in the county. He stated that they could be so arranged that the front of one desk would serve as the back of another. He noted that not one in five of the children who attended the summer schools was advanced beyond reading, spelling and mental arithmetic. He asked that better teachers and severer drill should be provided for the summer schools. He suggested many improvements in the methods of teaching and recommended a general increase of wages paid to teachers. He further stated that it was his desire to improve the qualifications of teachers generally in the county. He announced a teachers’ Normal Institute to be held in Appleton in October. At this time he also published his dates to appear in different parts of the county for the purpose of examining teachers.
In the fall the teachers in Appleton were: S. J. Damon, M. A. Borroughs, H. H. Bacon, L. M. Whittlesey, M. J. Walker, J. E. Kenney, A. R. Green and Elizabeth Walker. The number of scholars in attendance in all the four wards of the city was 451, and the per cent of attendance varied from 70 to 90. During the term 375 visitors saw the schools in operation.
At a special meeting of the citizens of the Third ward of Appleton in September, they voted almost unanimously to build a brick schoolhouse to cost about $6,500. They appointed a committee to select a new and ample location for the new house. James Gillmore, S. M. Barker and Alexander Ross were this committee. Their appointment, it was said, meant the success of the undertaking.
The county superintendent, Mr. Stephens, was charged with being too strict and exacting; had spoken ill of many good teachers; had unjustly charged others with incompetency, etc. These charges had become quite general. A card was published in the Crescent and Post signed by twenty-eight of the best teachers in the county, denying the charges and speaking highly of his services as superintendent. They said among other things, “We have seen him at his institutes laboring from morning till evening and during the evening, sick or well, from day to day and week to week, his whole soul absorbed in the improvement of the members and after having given two months of his time for our good and the good of the schools, receiving nothing in the way of compensation, not even being willing that he should make public our thanks for his service. He has introduced improvements into the schools of this county which, when they shall have been fully carried into effect by the teachers, will double the efficiency of teachers — improvements which we believe would not have been introduced by any other superintendent. He has clothed the noble profession of teaching with a dignity and importance far greater than it had appeared to us before to possess, and if there is anything good in our teaching he is entitled to much of the credit for it. After having done all this with but a meager, nay, niggardly salary, it pains us to hear him charged with a design to speculate on the school books of the county.”
It was noted in March, 1867, that the Second ward schoolhouse in Appleton was filled to overflowing with children and that a separate building for the primary department was imperatively needed. The assessed valuation of the property in the ward was about $300,000, equivalent to a real valuation of $900,000. There was thus no reason why the ward should not have, if necessary, a schoolhouse costing $15,000. Talk of a high school was indulged in at this date. Many believed it should be started immediately. There was some talk of using the old Second ward schoolhouse temporarily for a high school.
The Teachers’ Institute held at Kaukauna under the supervision of County Superintendent Stephens ended its session early in April, 1867. The examination of teachers commenced on the 4th and continued until the 6th. The session was an excellent one, there being many teachers in attendance and every day the exercises were interesting and instructive. The teachers were aware of the fact that in many of the common schools the method of instruction failed to awaken properly the minds of the pupils and that they cared little whether they attended or not. Mr. Stephens was given great credit for arousing these dormant conditions of the mind through his methods of instruction shown teachers at the institute.
In July, 1867, Prof. H. A. Jones was elected city superintendent for the ensuing year over J. F. Fuller, incumbent. The Crescent urged the new superintendent to revise the blue laws which had crept into the school rules of the city and to obliterate those which perhaps violated the constitution and laws of the state. Evidently this was intended to apply to colored children who were sent to the public schools. The teachers in Appleton in June, 1867, were: M. Richardson, M. Burrows, H. H. Bacon, L. M. Whittlesey, M. J. Walker, C. Bailey, A. R. Green, E. A. Fitch. The total attendance, at the spring term was 543; the average daily attendance was 79 per cent; total number of visitors was 444. Four departments were greatly reduced in attendance owing to the prevalence of a contagious disease.
In 1867 the citizens of Appleton taxed themselves for the support of public schools in the sum of $10,885.81. This expenditure did not include the amount received from the state. Still many children, it was noted, did not attend school at all. It was suggested that a law compelling parents to send their children to school would be a good move in Appleton. The legislature passed an act requiring all district school boards to secure a series of school books on or before the first of June, which books should not be changed for three years. The act also prohibited the county superintendent from officiating as school book agent or peddler.
The Outagamie County Teachers’ Association met at the school house in Hortonville in December at 10 o’clock in the forenoon. The proceedings began with an address by the president, Lynan J. Nash, followed by an essay by Miss A. A. Stevens. Then came a discussion on various educational topics, followed by more addresses, essays and general discussions. John Stephens was chairman of the executive committee and J. Hicks, secretary.
The Teachers’ Association which met at Hortonville late in January, 1868, was attended by the usual large number. The principal question discussed was that of corporal punishment. Those who took part in the debate were Messrs. Hardaker, Logan, McStay and Gardener. An essay was read by Miss E. A. Stevens. In the afternoon T. H. Earle addressed the teachers and was followed by Miss Addie Works with an essay. A general discussion followed in regard to suggested school subjects.
The Teachers’ Institute of the county was held at the courthouse at Appleton in October, 1868. The meeting was called to order by Superintendent Brothers, and officers were elected as follows: Prof. J. M. Phinney, conductor of exercises; J. M. Stephens, secretary; J. P. Waldron, treasurer. One of the first questions discussed was: “Should physical culture be introduced in our schools?” This lead to a spirited debate. The next day, “Should Rewards and Prizes be Given for the Best Scholarship?” was discussed by six or eight of the teachers present. During the forenoon of the first day Mr. Buchanan of the Appleton Post entertained the speakers with an instructive speech, for which he received their thanks. Professor Jones of the Lawrence University gave a profound talk on the elementary foundations of the English language. Later, exercises in reading, vocal music, spelling, etc., were conducted. Another question discussed was: “Should Corporal Punishment be Used in Our Public Schools?” This created a lively debate. Another question was: “How can Whispering Be Abolished in Our Schools?” Another was, “What Is the Best Method of Teaching History, Arithmetic, Grammer, Etc., In the Common Schools?” The question, “Should Public Exhibitions Be Introduced In Our Common Schools,” showed a difference of opinion among those present. The Institue was addressed by Dr. R. Z. Mason and Dr. J. M. Steele. “The Good of Our Schools,” was the subject of an essay. This proved to be one of the most interesting sessions of the institute ever held in the county. There was a large attendance and great good was accomplished.
During the early fall there was considerable discussion in Outagamie county concerning the schoolbooks used throughout the county. It was noted that many outrageous swindles concerning schoolbooks had been perpetrated upon a confiding public and an investigation, it was believed, would result in sending a number of the swindlers to the penitentiary. The prices were altogether too high, and it was alleged that school officers perhaps were interested in the sale of some particular book. A reform in this regard was demanded.
The teachers in Appleton in the winter of 1868-9 were: M. Richardson, M. Burroughs, Mrs. H. H. Bacon, M. E. Rork, E. Walker, N. J. Walker, C. N. Bailey, E. Preston, F. A. Bailey and 0. W. Pond. The entire number of scholars enrolled in the city was 1,723; the average per cent of attendance was 79; number of visitors 373. The school tax in the city of Appleton in 1866 was $6,123. In 1867 it was $9,111. In 1868 it was $4,783. It turned out that the levy for 1868 was too small by $3,895, which shortage was made up by the tax of 1869.
The act of March 11, 1869, consolidated all the school districts and parts of districts of the city of Appleton into one district and the directors of the several districts were made members of the board of education until April, 1870, when one school commissioner for each ward and a city superintendent for the whole city was to be elected. This act made full and ample provision for the new order of school affairs. The commissioners and the superintendent were styled the “board of education” and were constituted a corporate body. By this act Appleton was exempted from the provisions of the act creating the office of county superintendent of common schools approved April 6, 1861.
In 1869 an act in relation to the common schools of Appleton passed in 1869 was repealed and sub-chapter 10 entitled “public school system” was revived and re-enacted. All state and county school moneys belonging to the common schools of Appleton on hand was ordered apportioned to the various city school districts; also all moneys raised by taxation for 1869 and 1870 yet unexpended was ordered paid to the several school districts of the city in proportion to the taxable property of each. The several school districts were reorganized as they were before the repeal.
In January, 1869, the school children in the Second ward numbered about 800, and had greatly outgrown the capacity of the buildings then standing. There were two schoolhouses, but both were full to overflowing. The ward was growing rapidly and it was realized that in less than a year it would contain more than 1,000 children. Plans for a new building were prepared at once. It was thought that a building to cost at least $2,500 was required to meet present needs and provide for future growth.
In the fall the teachers of Appleton were as follows: Mr. Fuller, superintendent; Miss M. Richardson, assistant; Miss M. F. Jones, Miss E. Preston, P. D. Bullock, Misses C. A. Mason. C. Bailey, H. Spencer, F. Bailey, M. Burrows, Mrs. M. P. Whitford, Mr. 0. W. Palm. The salaries of the teachers were as follows: Assistant in grammar, $500 per year; first department in ward schools, $450; second and third grade teachers in ward schools, $400. The superintendent’s office was in the Central block second floor.
In September a county school picnic held on the border between Greenville and Hortonia, was attended by over 800 children. Perrots beautiful grove was filled with the children. There was an immense attendance of adults and all enjoyed a splendid feast in the deep woods.
The following statistics was prepared by the school authorities of Appleton in September, 1869: Total number of residences in city, 748; total number of families residing in the city, 811; total number children between ages 4 and 20, 1,526: total population, 4,093.
The county superintendent reported late in February, 1870, that all the schools of the county during the previous year, as a whole, made noble progress. They were in charge of energetic and competent teachers, many of whom strove to keep a high standard and succeeded. But the work of development and classification was necessary to be continued. Many new buildings and many old ones improved, appeared during the year. Numerous schools were supplied with maps, charts and globes. The superintendent reported that he visited all the schools in the county once, and all but four twice, during the year, and was pleased as a whole with their progress and condition. J. F. Fuller, city superintendent of Appleton, reported that radical changes made in the Appleton schools. During 1869 the district lines were obliterated and one district now included the whole city, and was under the direct management of a board of commissioners elected by wards at the same time and in the same manner as other officers. There were four grades: Grammar, first, second and third. When circumstances should warrant, higher grades and lower grades would be instituted. The aim of the system was to inculcate in the child a love for school duties and attendance, and hence third grade was provided for very small children. In the grammar department were three grades: First, second and third. In addition there were two mixed schools that were not yet graded. There was created a perfect uniformity as regards wages, terms, vacation, text-books, rules, government, etc. Twelve teachers were employed in the city and the pupils enrolled numbered about 800. In February, 1870, there were 83 school districts in the county. All but one of these made reports. There were in the county, between the ages of 4 and 20 years, 6,899 children. Of that number 2,251 did not attend school during the year, ninety-five teachers were employed. Male teachers were paid an average of $44 per month; females were paid an average of $28 per month. There were 87 school houses in the county valued at $48,273. The amount of school money received for the county during the year was $36,660; the amount spent was $30,350. Two teachers had first grade certificates; four, second grade; 39, third grade; and 83 teachers were females with third grade certificates.
Miss Mary Pratt conducted a private school in the front room of her residence and had about 30 scholars enrolled in December, 1870; the term was twelve weeks; tuition $3.
The Germans of Appleton in 1870 had a separate school in their own language. The school being in debt a fair was held, to which 600 tickets at 25 cents each were sold, for the purpose of clearing the incumbrance. The fair was held at Bertschy hall and was a success, both socially and financially. Mr. Alexander addressed the audience in German. Singing and supper were excellent. The prizes were interesting.
The Appleton Collegiate Institute was incorporated in 1870 by David Smith, George I. Brewster, George C. Jones, James W. Hutchinson, R. Z. Mason, W. H. Lanphear and Charles L. Fay. The object was the education of the youth of both sexes. By fall it was in full operation and popular.
In 1870 the state superintendent was authorized to apportion to the town of Kaukauna $72.85 to cover a deficiency.
“The opinion is gaining ground that the Appleton Public School System is next to no system at all. In due time the bulk of those who oppose progress in school matters will see their error and welcome a change for the better. The district system is too antiquated and old foggish for an enterprising people to tolerate in any city.” — (Crescent, November 19, 1870.)
In July, 1870, A. H. Conkey, a comparatively newcomer in Appleton, was appointed superintendent of city schools. He came highly recommended and was a brother of the well-known and prominent Colonel Theodore Conkey. In the summer Miss M. Burroughs was granted the right to open a select school in the building lately known as the Edgarton House. It was designed to be a select school during vacation to supply the wants of those children who had been unable to attend at other times during the year.
The German Catholic school of the Third ward was also in charge of two Catholic Sisters at this time. It was held in the basement of the church and about 90 scholars were in attendance. English was taught one-half of the day and German the other half. A free German school was taught in the Second ward. This was started by those parents who insisted that their children should have a thorough training in the German language. Mr. Myer was the first teacher; he taught both English and German.
The County Teachers’ Institute was held in the courthouse at Appleton in April, 1871, there being present from all parts of the county seventy-seven teachers. Robert Graham of Kenosha, agent of the Board of Regents of Normal schools, was present to conduct the exercises. Classes in every branch taught in the county were conducted by competent teachers. The Institute was addressed by General Samuel Fallows, state superintendent; so did Professor Jones of the University. Leading citizens of Appleton spoke to the teachers. County Superintendent Brothers was active and prominent. It was one of the best sessions ever held in the county. A. H. Conkey, city superintendent, was also active at this session.
The number of children between 4 and 20 years, August 31, 1871, was as follows, by wards: First, 294; Second, 646; Third, 456; Fourth, 220; total 1,616; attached was district No. 11 with 30 more. The total increase over 1870 was eleven per cent.
In 1872 the old National Hotel property was purchased and prepared for the use of the Collegiate Institute. The city concluded to assist with $5,000 to remodel the building under certain provisos. A workshop and gymnasium were provided.
The Teachers Institute of the county met in the Third ward schoolhouse in September, 1873. The following officers were elected: A. H. Conkey, president; H. P. Tormey, vice-president; D. S. Catlin, secretary. Among those to take part, in addition to the above were Messrs. Smith Barker, Professor Graham, Dr. Land, Strong, Schmidt and Misses Strong, Hosford, Bailey, Fitch. Rev. Mr. Tilton spoke on “The Theory and Practice of Teaching.” Numerous model classes in various branches were conducted and criticized.
“Citizens of Appleton. — Has not the time fully arrived for the establishment of the Union or general city system of our public schools? Must the old fogy district system continue to prevail just to please a professor or two in our University and a few of its bigoted friends. We suggest to all intelligent thinkers who have the good of the city at heart to sit down and examine the status of our public system and then decide whether the time for a forward and progressive movement has not fully come.” — (Crescent, June 21, 1873). The Appleton school children between the ages of 4 and 20 years were as follows at this time:
In June, 1875, all four wards were opposed to the proposed Union school proposition. The First ward voted $2,250 for school purposes; the Second voted $7,824; the Third $1,800 and the Fourth $1,400. In all the wards the school year was fixed at nine months. In the Second ward were the Amicus and Hercules schools, “We presume that nine-tenths of the opposition to the Union school system is in consequence of want of knowledge about its workings and benefits.” — (Crescent. )
Under the charter of 1876 the supervision of public instruction in Appleton was vested in the board of education consisting of the mayor and the director and clerk of each school district — the city superintendent was ex-officio member of the board.
In 1876 the Second ward established a high school, the other wards refusing to assist or join the movement. It was made a high school district and thereafter received $500 annually from the state.
The following statistics are for the scholastic year ending June 8, 1877:
The enrollment of 1,525 was 194 over that of 1876. Superintendent Conkey reported that many of the departments were too crowded and imperfectly graded thus crippling the efforts of the teachers and retarding the advancement of the pupils. Five years before this date the school board adopted a set of text-books for the use of the public schools and the period now expired. The superintendent recommended that little change should be made in the books. At this date the separate departments numbered 25, with three or four more to be added soon. “The question arises, have not our public schools acquired sufficient importance as a public interest to require the services of a superintendent for at least one-half of his time. Your rules require him to visit each department once a month; besides he is called upon to take charge of and conduct the various examinations that occur in each department during the year, making an amount of labor which few men could efficiently accomplish without giving at least half of his time.” — (Report of Superintendent Conkey.) At this date the Third and Fifth wards cormposed one school district; the schoolhouse in the Fifth ward was now being finished; it was decided to borrow $1,000 from the state to complete this improvement. The Fourth ward made preparations to build a new schoolhouse.
In March, 1877, there were enrolled in the Amicus school, Appleton, a total of 162 scholars; in the Hercules school 302, and in the High school 113; total enrollment in the Second ward 571. In the Hercules school were seven grades and in the Amicus, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades. In the High school were three classes and a commercial department. R. H. Schmidt, M. Burk and F. Bowman were the teachers in the High school.
In the spring of 1877 0. A. Curtis of Lawrence University won the state oratorical contest at the assembly hall, Madison. His theme was “Satan and Mephistopheles.” Later he won the interstate contest with a general average of 88 4-5 per cent. Upon his return here he was given a magnificent reception. A large procession was formed and was led by the mayor and followed by the fire department, a band, many citizens and the entire student body; the latter lighted bonfires, brought out the old cannon and made it speak often and in a loud voice; in fact, the students, figuratively speaking, upset the whole city.
F. W. Harriman, J. B. Murphy, W. P. Verity, George S. Thompson, Margaret L. McCormack, Delia E. Grimes, Lillie E. Turner, Eula Putnam, Emma Mory and Flora Randall were the first graduates of the high school in 1878; Professor Schmidt was principal.
In 1878, in the Second ward, Hercules school, there were eight departments and an enrollment of 363. At the Amicus school were four departments and an enrollment of 170. At the Germania school were 2 departments and an enrollment of 106.
A committee appointed for the purpose, after investigation, recommended the following school books for Appleton, to be used for five years: Harvey’s readers, White’s arithmetics and Eclectic geographies. The high school board also at this time adopted ned textbooks, Norton’s philosophy, Brown’s physiology, Andrews’ constitution, Eclectic geography, Schuyler’s algebra and geometry, Thalheimer’s history, White’s register and Harvey’s grammar.
In September, 1878, a school census showed the following condition of the schools of Appleton — children between four and twenty years:
R. M. LaFollette won the Wisconsin state oratorical contest in 1879. “His production was a remarkable analysis of the character of Iago. It would have been remarkable under any circumstances — a credit to the ablest Shakespearean critic and especially notable to a young student. It showed unusual familiarity with Coleridge, Schlegel and other able commentators and a delicacy of analysis that we look for only in maturity. The Madison Shakespearean essayist, Judge Braley, should confiscate this young man.” — Milwaukee Sentinel, May, 1879.)
In 1879 the compulsory school law went into effect. The Fourth ward schoolhouse was burned to the ground in September; a new building was immediately planned to cost $5,000 and commenced. President Steele having resigned from the presidency of the university, was given a parting banquet, at which mutual regards and regrets were passed.
The new Catholic schoolhouse was designed to accommodate about 600 pupils and was finished in December, 1880. It was dedicated November 7. Mrs. Jennie B. Dickinson opened a private school in the old National building in September, 1880; tuition $4; for small children.
The act of March 24, 1881, provided that all the territory within the corporate limits of Appleton and all territory which might thereafter become a part of the city should constitute one school district. Two school commissioners were to be chosen in each ward, each to hold office for two years, and together they constituted the board of education.
In 1881 a new schoolhouse to cost $10,000 was being erected in District 1. Prof. M. J. Burk was principal. Seven departments or grades were taught here. In District No. 2 plans to build a new house to cost $19,000 were in hand and work was soon commenced. The First and Second wards were coextensive with Districts 1 and 2, but District 2 also embraced the Sixth ward. In this district was the high school under Prof. R. H. Schmidt, principal. The Third and Fourth wards were embraced in District 3; C. W. Greenfield was principal. District 4 was coextensive with the Fourth ward; Prof. A. B. Whitman was principal. Each of the grammar schools had seven grades. The high school principal had three assistants and a teacher of German. In 1881 Mrs. G. C. Jones, Miss Hutchinson and other ladies petitioned the council to establish evening schools. At this time great efforts to change the district system to a union system were made. The city had 2,946 children of school age.
The new Second ward schoolhouse was completed in April, 1883. At that time it was undoubtedly one of the finest common school buildings in the state.
For the year ending 1883 J. A. Leith, county superintendent, reported as follows: Number of institutes held, one of two weeks; teachers enrolled, 108; three had first grade certificates; three had second grade certificates; and 112 had third grade certificates; average wages of women teachers, $24; of men, $37.24; number of schools, 117; number of schoolhouses in good condition, 83; number of schools with two departments, 5; total number of children of school age, 8,735; money spent on schools, $33,806.75; Appleton was not included in these figures. At this time Mr. Schmidt claimed to be city superintendent of schools, but this was denied by the council. The office was declared vacant and finally A. B. Whitman was elected.
The Third ward in 1884 planned a schoolhouse to cost $20,000; the Third and Fifth wards comprised District 3. The city enrollment in 1884-5 was 3,726; in this number were 122 high school students. The County Teachers’ Institute in 1884 was a fine success, there being in attendance 76 teachers; they assembled in Ryan high school and listened to expert teachers and participated in valuable professional exercises. This institute continued to be held every year as required by the law of the state.
County Superintendent John W. Flanagan reported in November, 1885, that the number of school children in the county was 9,594; number who attended school, 4,281; number of schoolhouses, 116; visits by the superintendent, 178; days institute was held, 5; teachers enrolled at the institute, 104; applicants for examination, 247; third grade certificates, 37; second grade certificates, 3; first grade certificates, 2; number certificates issued, 93; teachers’ wages, $24,488.55; average wages, male teachers, $65.50; average wages, female teachers, $25.40. The schools were sadly deficient in apparatus; generally the schoolhouses were comfortable and well built; the old back-breaking and child-deforming benches were nearly all gone; as a whole the country schools were in good condition.
An industrial exhibition in the Ryan High school building by the scholars was an interesting event in February, 1883 — botanical specimens, penmanship, fancy work, carpentry, art work, models of buildings. Professor Stewart opened the exhibition and City Superintendent Whitman addressed the children. Judge Ryan and Rev. Mr. Faville spoke also.
In 1886 Miss Bell conducted a kindergarten and had quite a large attendance; her school was encouraged by the board of education. The city school population in 1886 was 4,070.
The report of county school superintendent in November, 1887, was notable in many respects, he said, “Let me say that I deem our public schools in very poor condition, attributable to ignorance, indifference, selfishness and hostility, and with regret I do admit that unless there is a revival of interest or a general uprising of enthusiasm in behalf of our public school system, it will soon fall into general contempt.” He showed that the former reports of this county to the state superintendent were full of glaring errors. The number of teachers required to supply the schools was 170, but in order to secure that number out of the candidates, the standard per cent of qualification was forced first down to 60, then to 50. Necessarily many of the teachers secured were incompetent. The wages paid were ridiculously low; a number receiving only $16 per month, out of which they were forced to pay their board. Superintendent Schmidt recommended radical changes.
County Superintendent Jervis Muttart reported for the year ending June 30, 1888, 9,459 children, and for the following year 9,393, showing a loss of 66. The numbers attending for those years were 5,263 and 5,601, showing an increase of 338. There were 111 districts. Kaukauna with two districts was withdrawn from the county system. There were required 120 teachers; 90 teachers held third grade certificates. It was necessary to issue limited certificates to supply the schools with teachers; 34 of such were issued. Nearly all had blackboards, maps and Webster’s unabridged dictionaries.
Nearly 100 teachers organized an institute at Appleton in April, 1890, at Ryan high school building. Prof. L. D. Henry and Miss Rose C. Schwartz of Oshkosh were the leaders. This was one of the best sessions ever held.
In 1890 Appleton was asked to raise $9,000 for the University observatory. Prof. O. H. Ecke succeeded Prof. Schmidt as principal of the high school. The library of the University had 11,896 volumes this year. Prof. Underwood raised $17,274 for the University in seven weeks — all for the observatory; it was named in his honor. A union high school was urged at this date. The corner stone of the observatory was laid in June, 1891; the addresses and ceremony were notable. In December, 1891, the Third District determined upon a high school which was immediately prepared. J. S. Ritchey, county superintendent, reported 8,244 children enrolled with an attendance of 5,321; 121 school rooms in the county were occupied; there were 112 school districts.
In 1892 there were two high schools — Second District and Third District; the teachers numbered 51. Supt. I. N. Stewart recommended the establishment of a city high school. In July, Mrs. M. R. Winslow was elected city superintendent of schools.
Rev. Reeder Smith died in January, 1892; these pages show the usefulness of his life. The Sixth ward planned a new schoolhouse to cost $21,911. The teachers’ institute was held in Ryan high school. Dr. Samuel Plantz became president of Lawrence about this time. The Sixth ward schoolhouse was dedicated in January, 1894; it was named Columbian and cost a total of $28,278. A commercial and an art industrial course were added to the high schools. A new school district was established at combined locks. All the wards were getting new schoolhouses about this time. Miss Carrie Morgan became city superintendent in July, 1904, vice Mrs. Winslow, resigned. A new science hall for Lawrence was planned in 1895.
The field day contest at Lawrence university in 1893 was witnessed by a large assemblage; Lawrence won 61 points and Ripon 55; Farley of Lawrence was the best runner and jumper.
In 1893 Appleton had 9 school buildings, 43 school rooms and 8 recitation rooms. In the Second District a building to cost $28,000 was going up. The teachers numbered 54 — 43 being women.
The Appleton Astronomical Society was the outgrowth of the erection here of the observatory. The observatory was found by Prof. Underwood to be in longitude 5 hours, 53 minutes and 35.865 seconds west of Greenwich. It was found that Appleton time was 6 minutes and 24.135 seconds faster than Central Standard time. The latitude of the observatory was found to be 44 degrees, 17 minutes and 24.26 seconds north.
The old schoolhouse in the Fifth ward, built with so much pride in 1876, was burned down in October, 1895 — loss about $7,000; insurance $4,500. The Southwestern Teachers’ Association met at Hortonville in November, 1895, there being present about a score of teachers. Lydia A. Leppla was secretary. A full program of exercises was carried out.
The adverse attitude of the Catholic church toward the American public school system was considered by this community in the summer of 1893. This attitude was revealed by the address of Mgr. Satolli delivered in December, 1892, and by subsequent addresses of the various Catholic archbishops and bishops including Bishop Messmer. Their views were promptly combatted by the Protestants and by the friends of the American school system.
“These schools of Freedom and Little Chute are not independent of the Catholic church and are taught by nuns. Still these districts desired to have a share of the state school fund. To enable these districts to draw this money for the support of their schools and to give the whole scheme a legal aspect, in the reports of the state superintendent, some of the former county superintendents have under private examination granted certificates to nuns of the churches at Freedom and Little Chute. Thus equipped the nuns were legally qualified to teach in the common schools of the county; the schools of Freedom and Little Chute were taught by legally qualified teachers. There arose much dissatisfaction. For nine years in Freedom the pretended public school of that district was conducted by the nuns in the parochial school building of the Catholic church; at present there are three nuns teaching in that school; the public schoolhouse there was dilapidated and deserted. In the nuns’ school they performed religious ceremonies and gave religious instruction; they then took up their studies and lessons. Prayers were offered and on the walls were pictures significant of the Catholic religion. I saw vases of holy water of which the children made use before leaving the school. This cannot be called a public school. At Little Chute the state of affairs is similar. It is a private and not a public school. The district clerk of that school has acknowledged that fact before me in my office. There are two nuns employed in this school. Many of the Catholic families in the surrounding districts near Freedom and Little Chute prefer to send their children to these parochial schools and hence the children are sent from a great distance instead of to the public school near home where they belong.” — (G. D. Ziegler, county superintendent, Post, November 7, 1895.) In October the county superintendent revoked the certificates of the Catholic Sisters who had been teaching in the public schools of Freedom and Little Chute. He did this on no other ground than that the schools taught by the nuns were really private schools. These schools though really private had used public school money for many years, so it was contended by the Post, superintendent and many citizens.
“These schools were organized as non-sectarian district schools and are a part of our common school system and till this presumption that they are non-sectarian public schools has been overcome by a preponderance of evidence in a court of justice they must be treated as non-sectarian public schools. This rule of law may be harsh, but it is the best known. * * * It will require more than the candid statement of an interested law breaker to overcome this presumption, until this question is presented by the proper parties in the proper place how can the question with us be whether these schools are sectarian or not. We have the facts on but one side of the case and those came from one who is a confessed lawbreaker in this matter. The mere fact that these sisters are still teaching in these schools and that these school districts will continue to receive state aid until it shall be proved by a preponderance of evidence in a court of justice that they are sectarian, is proof positive that our superintendent acted outside the letter and the spirit of the law and that the issue of sectarianism has not been joined. * * * Beyond the shadow of a doubt the issue now is: Had Mr. Ziegler the legal right to annul those sisters certificates?” — (Thomas H. Ryan in Post, November 14, 1895.)
“We regard the action of the superintendent as only important in focusing public attention upon an abuse of our state school system which has existed in two districts of this county for a half score of years more or less. The manifest purpose of the superintendent is to correct that abuse. The abuse mentioned is that our public educational system has been perverted in the interests of sectarianism at Little Chute and Freedom. In the latter town the public school buildings have been abandoned and the money derived from the district and the state has been used in the maintenance of an out-and-out parochial school. Indeed, we are informed that the title of the building for school purposes used is even vested in the Catholic church. * * * If Mr. Ziegler was wrong and the Post was wrong in the ‘plan of campaign’ adopted, neither should be above changing it. The only point if importance is the correction of the abuse of our public educational systems.” (Post, November 14, 1895.)
Mr. Ziegler restored the certificates to the nuns and told the school officers of those districts to banish all sectarianism from those schools. The district board of Little Chute promptly excluded all religious instruction from its schools, but the objections in other localities had not been removed by February, 1896.
The law of 1895 provided for an assessment of $1 on all applicants for teachers’ certificates in any county, the money to be used for county institute work. With this fund Superintendent Ziegler planned in 1896 to hold four one-day institutes in different times and places in the county. One was held at Seymour, February 20, 1897, conducted by S. Y. Gillan and J. E. Riordan, and a lecture was delivered by William H. Smith.
People of Appleton could scarcely realize the wonderful growth of the city schools in 1897. Late in the seventies the Hercules building was the best and costliest, but in 1897 was sold for $265 to make room for the new Lincoln. When the Hercules was built there were three other fair buildings. Now in 1897 there were six costing from $25,000 to $35,000 each. The attendance, system, progress and equipment were equally as wonderful.
Daniel Huntley died in 1897. He came to Appleton in the spring of 1850. He taught one of the first public schools in the city. He was well educated, prominent, high-minded and useful. The Good Citizenship League considered the union school system at this date. The new schoolhouse to be called Lincoln and to take the place of the old Hercules building. Stephenson science hall was projected. By the middle of January, 1898, the subscriptions to Stephenson’s hall amounted to $20,000; there was yet needed $10,000.
The new Lincoln schoolhouse was dedicated in December, 1897, with much ceremony. Addresses were made by Mayor Erb, Principal Pringle, City Superintendent Miss Carrie Morgan, Rev. John McCoy, F. W. Harriman, secretary of the school board, and W. H. Chandler, state inspector of schools.
In 1898 the school children of the city numbered 5,134. In the First, Fourth and Sixth wards were four kindergartens with an enrollment of 330. In private schools were 845 children between seven and thirteen years; there were 5 in school for the deaf.
Stephenson Hall of Science was dedicated in June, 1899. Prof. T. C. Chamberlain of Chicago University delivered the principal address. The building cost in round numbers $40,000. There was yet needed $5,000 for equipment. A gymnasium was at once talked of.
In November, 1899, there were in the county 9,429 children between the ages of 4 and 20 years, of whom 5,395 attended school. There were in the county 86 third grade teachers, 55 second grade and 15 first; total, 156 teachers.
In January, 1900, the high schools of Appleton, Neenah and Kankauna organized the Fox River Valley High School Association, consisting of four schools, and the object was to hold athletic contests on tracks exclusively.
In August, 1900, the County Teachers’ Institute had an attendance on the first day of 76 and of nearly 100 for the session. It was held in Ryan high school and continued three weeks. The conductors were G. H. Landgraf and H. E. Bolton. Miss Elizabeth Wilson lectured.
In 1901 the compulsory school age was changed from 7-13 to 7-14, but during the year 15 children attended no school. The enrollment was 5,182, of whom 2,512 were males. The enrollment in the kindergartens was 429, and that in the high schools was 248; average daily attendance, 1,962; school decoration was begun. The number of books in the city school libraries was 6,591. A school for the deaf was maintained with an enrollment of 7. Manual training was maintained in the high school. The city superintendent was Miss Carrie E. Morgan.
In December, 1901, pursuant to law, the board of libraries for Outaganie county organized and elected the following officers: W. F. Saecker, president; H. T. Buck, vice-president; Carrie E. Morgan, secretary. No appropriation was made by the board of supervisors, because it was expected that public spirited citizens would donate $50 libraries to the various towns and villages. Accordingly, December 20, such donations had been made to Black Creek, Shiocton, Stephensville, Maine, Hortonville and Seymour. The library at Shiocton was promptly increased to 100 volumes and that at Seymour to 250 volumes. The new board took steps to establish such a library in every town and village in the county. Part were to be “traveling libraries.”
In 1902 Lawrence University officials purchased the old Johnson House property, then occupied by C. W. Jones, just west of Ormsby hall; they also contracted for the Marsh property near.
School savings banks were talked of in 1900. There was a textbook fight about this time. The high school building at Seymour was burned in 1903.
Nellie P. Whitford, after 45 years of continuous teaching in this state and 35 years teaching in Appleton, died in March, 1904. She began teaching when she was fifteen years old.
In January, 1904, Ryan high school building was wholly destroyed by fire, the total loss being about $50,000. Everything in the building was burned — textbooks, libraries, manual training apparatus, physical laboratory and all the late improvements. Immediately steps to build an immense union high school were taken. Mass meetings were held and soon all the best citizens joined the movement. The plan was to establish a central high school and a union school system in place of the district system. The question was finally submitted to the electors.
By unanimous votes the taxpayers of the Second and Third school districts decided to abolish their existing high schools, providing the electors decided on the new system. This was a step preliminary to the vote in March to establish a Union high school. A high school building to cost $75,000 was planned before the election, so eager were the friends of the movement. The special election cost $400; about 800 ballots were deposited and the majority in favor of a Union high school was overwhelming; 862 votes were cast, of which 715 were in favor of the new system. The Fourth ward voted against it by 2 majority. Immediately after the election the board of education met to take steps to carry into execution the new plans. A site was selected and the amount to be expended was fixed. R. W. Pringle, who had been principal of Ryan high school, was chosen to take charge of the new Union high. The Ryan high school site enlarged was selected. The cornerstone of the Union high school was laid late in August, 1904, by Mayor F. W. Harriman. Addresses were made by the mayor and Humphrey Pierce.
The last old log schohoolhouse in the county disappeared when the one in Black Creek was replaced by a frame building about 1904-5. In 1905 there were 604 children between 7 and 14 years who did not attend school the length of time required by law. Exclusive of Appleton and Kaukauna there were 9,513 children in the county between 4 and 20 years. Superintendent Meating in 1905 urged that teachers should be paid higher wages.
The Appleton Teachers’ Association was organized at Lincoln school in November, 1905, with Miss Margaret Comerford as president. The necessary committees were appointed.
In May, 1905, Andrew Carnegie named President Samuel Plantz of Lawrence University as one of the twenty-five trustees to supervise the distribution of the income of the $10,000,000 Carnegie fund for retired instructors. The offer of Mr. Carnegie of $50,000 to the Lawrence library was accepted.
The law of 1905-6 required an annual joint meeting of the various school boards; the county superintendent was required to call them together; great good was expected of this step and actually resulted. The dedication of the college library in 1906 filled Appleton with scholars from abroad. In September, 1906, the high school registered 314 scholars. This year Mr. Rockefeller offered $50,000 to Lawrence College upon condition that it should raise $150,000, which was done.
The convention of county school officers in December, 1907, was the largest and most successful ever held. In 1905, when the law first became operative, the attendance was 250; in 1906 it was 232, and in 1907 it was 275. State Rural School Inspector L. W. Wood was present.
The state tax apportioned to Outaganie county schools in 1906 was $13,552.08; in 1907 it was $56,560.93.
It was at this time that Mr. Meating planned to have the school children of the county plant and care for gardens or crops of their own. He made an exhibit of the work of the county schools at the state fair and won 26 prizes in 1907. Drawings and stories were among those winning prizes.
Of the 9,411 children of school age in the county, 1907, outside of Kaukauna and Appleton, only 5,013 attended public schools; about 1,000 of them attended parochial schools, however. The total expenses were $73,075.52; there were 146 school districts in the county, 130 of them observed Arbor day and planted 313 trees.
In 1907 the new compulsory law went into effect and doubled the work of the county superintendent. At this time Mr. Meating planned and carried into execution as fast as possible many great advances in rural education, for which he deserved and received great praise. He asked for a training school and planned to have the children write a history of the county. “Trade schools” was the slogan. The law made the county sheriff a truant officer.
As shown by the report of Superintendent Meating, the new school law in 1908 caused the attendance in the county of 65 boys and 35 girls who would not have attended had there been no such law. “Children were returned in every case before prosecution became necessary,” said the superintendent. During the school year 1907-8 he issued certificates to 15 male and 124 female teachers; 101 were third grade; there were 115 graduates from the county common schools. There were 4,728 children between the ages of seven and fourteen years, of which number 2,950 attended the public schools, and a total of 1,400 of the same age attended the parochial or private schools. There were employed 15 male and 137 female teachers. The total disbursements were $77,805.17. There were added to the school libraries 1,482 volumes, making the total number of volumes in the libraries 22,916. Twenty-four districts furnished free textbooks. Arbor day was observed by 127 schools and Memorial day by 86 schools.
On April 30, 1909, a spelling and adding contest was held throughout the county, the contestants meeting at a central schoolhouse in each town and proceeding under rules prepared by Superintendent Meating. The winners of first, second and third places in each town were eligible to compete in the county contest held at Appleton, June 12. At the same time commencement exercises for the rural schools were held. This was the first of such commencements. A county training school was voted down by the county board 24 to 10 in January, 1909.
In May, 1909, R. W. Pringle, who for twelve years had been connected with the city public schools and been principal of the Appleton Union high school, resigned and was succeeded by Paul G. W. Keller. There was general regret at the departure of Mr. Pringle. In 1908 Lawrence College was worth $996,513.12.
The construction of the boys’ dormitory, to be called Brokaw Hall, was commenced in 1909. The Peabody music hall was dedicated in April, 1910, Judge Ryan, Neil Brown and Rev. Wescott being the principal speakers. It was the gift of George F. Peabody.
The tenth annual northwestern Wisconsin interscholastic track meet was held at Appleton in May, 1910.
In July the Appleton school children numbered 5,721. This year Superintendent Meating awarded prizes to school children for the best corn and barley grown.
The Peabody music hall was dedicated April 13 and 14, 1910. The growth of Lawrence Conservatory of Music in 1910-11 was so gieat under Dean William Harper that it was necessary to secure several large houses near for dormitories and other houses were rented.
The two best country schoolhouses in the state are No. 3 Kaukauna and No. 2 Black Creek; the latter is brick 28×48, heated with furnace; in the basement is a play room besides the fuel and furnace room; it cost $5,000; the entire basement floor is of cement. The former has a concrete covering, has a furnace heating plant, is about 35×40 and cost $3,800. Dolton T. Howard of Appleton, a senior at Lawrence University, won second place in the oratorical contest at Waukesha in March, 1910.
Lew R. Saretsky, a Polish student of Beloit college, won first place in the state oratorical contest in March. Spencer Woodworth of Lawrence was a close second. The winning oration was entitled “The Leaven of the American.”
The fourth semi-annual convention of the Wisconsin School Arts and Home Economics Association was held in the Appleton high school in April, there being in attendance about 100 teachers from all parts of the state. The work of students in manual training, drawing and domestic science was exhibited to about 600 people; interesting sessions were held.
The seventh annual Wisconsin high school basket ball tournament was held here March and April; the teams represented were those of Madison, Fond du Lac, Janesville, Appleton, La Crosse, Superior, Sheboygan ,and Mondovi. Appleton won first place, La Crosse second, Janesville third and Superior fourth. The high school physical education department rendered a visitors’ day program in May that proved a surprise and success. At this time commencement recitals of the school of expression were given in Peabody hall.
Late in May the Appleton high school graduated forty-three students who held their graduation exercises at the theater May 31. This year the largest class in the history of the institution was graduated from Lawrence. In May, County Superintendent Meating was exonerated from blame by a special committee which found his office work so burdensome that he was unable to visit all the schools of the county; he was authorized to employ a clerk at $30 a month for six months each year to assist him, the first to begin after September 1. As a matter of fact Mr. Meating was doing remarkable advancement work against low wages and other insuperable obstacles.
The election of national, state, county and city officials occurred at the Appleton high school in May, 1911, girls as well as boys voting with a voting machine borrowed of the city clerk. The contest was between the People’s Party and the Progressives. About 268 students voted. The People’s Party won by a small margin. At this time plans for a study and recreation center here during vacation were formulated; registration blanks were distributed to learn what instruction was desired. Gymnasium, social, literary and scientific courses were planned free. Among the leaders in this movement were Paul G. W. Keller, George H. Packard, William H. Kreiss, Carl A. Feuerstein, Mrs. James S. Reeve, Carl Maeser and others.
From time to time as the years have passed additional departments have been added to Lawrence college — academic, liberal arts, commercial, musical, painting and drawing, military, university extension, special, correspondence, psychology, pedagogy theory of education, etc., and has added different buildings — preparatory, university proper, gymnasium, observatory, Ormsby, Stephenson, Brokaw, etc. Savings banks were established in the school in 1910-11. At this time the Twilight Club and other assemblages advocated making all schoolhouses the centers of civic and social improvement; evening schools were recommended in numerous places so that students would not have far to go. In July, 1911, the school children of Appleton numbered 5,776.
In June, Judge Goodland decided that the property of Lawrence College not used strictly for educational purposes was taxable. In June, Rev. Gunsaulus addressed the graduating class of Lawrence. The students of that college spent here each year from $150,000 to $200,000; this fact merited liberality from the business interests of the city. An unknown donor gave the college $50,000 this year of which $25,000 was to endow a chair of arts; $50,000 was raised by October. A donation of an additional $5,000 for Brokaw hall was received.
In June, 1911, there were in the public schools 5,722 children of school age; boys, 2,800; girls, 2,922; teachers employed 104, of whom 93 were women; 113 children were graduated from the eighth grade; there were eight in the school for deaf; 8,419 volumes in the school libraries. Physical training and medical inspection had been introduced for some time. The new law of 1911 taxed teachers one per cent of their salaries annually for a teachers’ pension fund for ten years, but not for more than $15.