A History of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin

A brief explanation as to the purpose of this book may not be out of place. Some years ago when the author first resided in Madison, his attention was attracted to the vast accumulated material on the subject of local Wisconsin history, gathered together in the State Historical Library at that city, and particularly to the hundreds of bound files of newspapers. At first he was led to a cursory browsing in the early volumes of certain Manitowoc county weeklies and the discovery of much interesting and generally forgotten information led to a more detailed and systematic reading of the files. The interest in the pioneer existence of the lake shore region thus aroused became more and more intense as this study progressed and the final result was the determination to gather from all possible sources as much material relating to the history of Manitowoc County as could be found and the condensation and combination of it into a fairly readable account. Old records, interviews and miscellaneous works have been valuable adjuncts to the newspaper files in furnishing the basis of the work and, although the problem of selection presented was often a most difficult one, an attempt, at least, has been made to follow approved historical methods in the recording and interpretation of facts.

This, then, is the aim of this history. No claims are made for its literary merits. On the other hand the author has more largely devoted his efforts towards securing correctness in point of fact than elegance of style. Different phases in the county's history are treated topically also, instead of an attempt being made to write one connected story of the entire existence of the county, as it was thought true prospective would thus be better afforded. It may be objected that too many dates have been inserted. From the literary standpoint this is doubtless true, but it must be remembered that above all the idea in writing this work was the recording in some permanent form of many facts which in future years may be useful as well as interesting, in regard to the beginning and progress of the county. The older generation is rapidly passing off the stage of action and the original evidence of historical value, such as landmarks, is being obliterated year by year. To preserve at least a partial account of the changes made by the course of time was the task the author set before him. Without further apology he submits the result to the reader. Ralph Gordon Plumb.


Table of Contents

I. Descriptive... 1
II. The Indians... 8
III. Early Settlement... 16
IV. Growth and Foreign Immigration... 32
V. Means of Communication... 42
VI. Marine... 55
VII. Railroads... 85
VIII. Military... 112
IX. Politics... 133
X. Village and City Government... 167
XI. Churches... 183
XII. Societies and Organizations... 227
XIII. Education... 243
XIV. The Press... 255
XV. The Professions... 278
XVI. Banks and Banking... 281
XVII. Business and Industry... 288
Appendixes... 293


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The beginnings of actual settlement in Manitowoc County date from 1836, but certain events of the year before are of importance as explaining the character of this settlement. Four villages, Manitowoc, Manitowoc Rapids, Two Rivers and Neshoto sprang into existence almost simultaneously and the early history of each is replete with interest. The speculative and expansive tendencies of the year 1835 first brought the unsettled regions of northeastern Wisconsin into prominence. Gold deposits were rumored near Kewaunee and it was even suggested that a metropolis would grow up in the re- region. Three surveyors from Green Bay, Daniel Le Roy, M.L. Martin and P.B. Grignon in 1833 made a cursory examination of the locality. Two years later a land office was opened at that place and A.G. Ellis was deputized to make a survey of the region now included in the county. On the sixth of May President Jackson issued a proclamation for land sales to be held in Green Bay, which signified the opening of all this portion of the state to settlement. The first entries in the territory later composing the county were made by William Jones of Chicago and Louis Fizette on August 3rd. at what is the present site of Manitowoc city and by Francis Leframbois and William Jourdain at the Rapids. Fizette sold to C.P. Arndt, also of Green Bay, soon after.