Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Genesis of the Republican Party

September 10, 2011

Image from the Tarrant County Republican Party website 

Genesis of the Republican Party.
[S.F. Bulletin.]

The States, Maine, Wisconsin and Michigan — each claims to have organized the Republican party. Perhaps Wisconsin is really entitled to the honor. On the last day of February, 1854, a meeting had been held at Ripon in that State, comprised of both Whigs and Democrats, that resolved that in the event of Congress passing the Kansas-Nebraska bill, they would fling their old affiliations to the wind, and join in a determined movement to oppose the further extension of slavery.

The first convention on this platform — which may be called the first Republican platform — convened on the 6th of July of that year, and nominated

Kinsley S. Bingham for Governor, who was elected by an overwhelming majority.

Ohio followed Michigan in the same direction, and at a State Convention nominated a ticket that swept the field.

The next year, in 1855, New Yorkers in convention abandoned their old name of “Whig” and adopted the Wisconsin name “Republican.” In other States the party of “bolters” from both the Whig and the Democratic ranks were designated as “Anti-Nebraskas.” In 1856 they met in a National Convention and nominated John C. Fremont for the Presidency, and the Republican party for the second time under that name came into existence.

Daily Nevada Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jul 16, 1884

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) May 6, 1856


Having appeared before you as a candidate for the office of Clerk of the Board of Supervisors of Richland county, I deem it my duty to lay before my friends and the public generally, my position in regard to the present campaign.

For the election of President, I have but one choice, and that is for Fremont; deeming him not only to be the republican candidate, but the only true democratic candidate in the field. For him I shall labor arduously, and hope successfully. For Congress and State, as well as all law-making offices, I shall support the republican ticket throughout.

For county offices I shall endeavor to vote for those men who are the most capable to fill the offices, without regard to party nominations. Holding to the true Republican doctrine of Thomas Jefferson, viz: Are they honest, are they capable?

Respectfully yours,
Richland Center, August 9th, 1856.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Aug 19, 1856

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Aug 19, 1856


“We intend the Constitution to be THE GREAT CHARACTER OF HUMAN LIBERTY to the unborn millions who shall enjoy its protection; and who should never see that such an institution as slavery was ever known in our midst.” — James Madison.

“Slavery exists in Kansas under the Constitution.” — James Buchanan.

The former expresses the view of the Republican party; the latter the views of the so called Democratic party.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Nov 24, 1857

Gotta Shoot a Man to Start a Graveyard

August 15, 2011



The following sketch is from the pen of “Brick” Pomeroy, and was originally published in the La Crosse Democrat. It is so interesting, and so aptly illustrates life in the early times that I take the liberty of using it here: —

“It has been humorously claimed for the average frontier town, as a point in favor of its climatic conditions, that it was necessary to shoot a man for the purpose of starting a grave-yard. While this may be true of La Crosse, a ramble among the tomb-stones and monuments of Oak Grove Cemetery will discover the fact that it was unnecessary to resort to such an extreme measure as an inaugural, its identity was more clearly established by being the burial place of a murdered man.

“In the spring of 1852, a man named David Darst, came to La Crosse from Illinois, bringing with him in his employ, William Watts. Mr. Darst was a man of means, and his object in leaving civilization for the hardships of the frontier is unknown. However, he located on a piece of land in Mormon Cooley, and engaged in farming.

“On the 5th of June, 1852, six or seven weeks after his settlement in the Cooley, his body was found in the bushes by a man by the name of Merryman, stripped of every rag of clothing and tied to a pole which the murderer had used to carry the body from the shanty in which they lived. Merryman was attracted to the spot by the barking of his little dog. He came into town and reported what he had found, and a number of citizens volunteered to go to the Cooley to investigate the matter and try and arrest the murderer, if he could be found. Several parties were arrested but all proved their innocence to the crowd and were released. — On returning to town the man Watts was found with Darst’s clothes on his back — even to his shirt and underwear. He had all his household goods, money, two yoke of cattle and everything the man had. — He was arrested and, there being no jail, he was given over to the keeping of a Mr. McShodden, who kept him in his cellar, chained to a post. He evidently belonged to a gang of outlaws, as evidenced from letters received at the post-office for him both before and after his arrest.

“One evening he escaped. The whole plantation turned out to hunt him; boats scoured the river bank in all directions; men on horseback and armed searched the prairie. But they could find no trace of him. Parties of boys were also looking for him. About midnight he was found by the noise of a file he was using to get rid of his chains, by a party of these small boys and taken into custody. He afterward was furnished by his friends with a file and some iron-colored-paste. This he used in his “prison” and escaped a second time, and was not found for a long time. He was discovered as a hostler at the Ridge Tavern by a man who had been sent for the mail. The mail-carrier, without appearing to notice him at the time, on his arrival home reported him to the Sheriff, who immediately went out and secured him. A one-story stone jail had been erected by subscription after his first escape. He was incarcerated in this and made his exit through the roof of this institution. A new and stronger roof was put on the building, and a large quantity of stone put loose over the ceiling in such a manner that if he tried again it would fall on him and crush him.

“Watts confessed his crime. He said that Darst was lighting the fire on the morning of the murder, he struck him on the head with an axe. He had no other reason for the deed than that of securing the money and property of the victim. — At the funeral of Darst, which occurred the Sunday following the discovery of his body, the services were held in a small building on State street, with the murdered man in his coffin and the murderer in chains standing at the head. It was understood very generally, that as the funeral procession left for the cemetery, Watts was to be lynched. The Rev. S.C. Sherwin conducted the services, and, although more than one rope was in the hands of the party, such was his influence over the populace that he prevailed upon them to let law and order take their course.

“A few years afterward a party of gentlemen were attracted to the spot where Merryman’s dog had discovered to him the body of Darst by the same animal, and there they found the body of Merryman himself in the icy embrace of death.”

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Sep 8, 1881

This version from The History of LaCrosse, Wisconsin gives more details:


A great many fights and fracases occurred about this time, but on June 3, 1852, one of the most deliberately-planned and cold-blooded murders ever chronicled was committed in Mormon Cooley, which greatly excited the entire community, and came near ending in the lynching of the accused. David Darst, it seems, had at a comparatively early day removed from Galena, 111., and settled on a claim out in Mormon Cooley. He built him a log hut, and, with two yoke of oxen, was soon in a prosperous condition for a settler of the times. In the spring of the year in which the murder was committed, there came up the river from Galena a young man named William Watts, who had known Darst previous to his removal hither, and seeking him out, proposed making a visit to his friend of former days. After remaining here a short time, accepting the hospitality of his whilom friend, Watts deliberately murdered Darst, and, stripping the body of clothing and valuables, hid it in a plum thicket that occupied a ravine near the house. The murderer dressed himself in the garb of the dead victim of his devilish covetousness, and yoking up the oxen, came into the village for the purpose of disposing of the plunder.

The same day that Watts came out of the cooley, Mr. Merriman, an old bachelor, who had a cabin not far distant, was riding up the ravine on horseback, accompanied by a dog, his daily companion, the keen scent of which detected the dead and decaying remains of the murdered host of Watts. The dog ran into the thicket and thence back to his master, manifesting the utmost concern, and betraying an anxiety that indicated something out of the usual channel. Mr. Merriman finally dismounted, and following the dog into the thicket, was nearly paralyzed and stricken dumb by the horrible sight which met his gaze. There lay his neighbor, stiff and stark and dead, his skull crushed and his throat cut, in the last stages of decomposition, and exuding an odor which was stifling. He at once gave the alarm, and hurrying to the village, startled the inhabitants with the story of what he had seen.

While this condition of affairs was rendering the village a scene of pronounced commotion. Watts was engaged in drinking and carousing, and when he had reached a condition of helpless intoxication, he solved the mystery which had surrounded the crime, and was arrested, narrowly escaping lynching.

An inquest was held over the remains of Darst, his murderer being obliged to confront the remains, and when moved to stand at the head of the coffin. During the funeral there were a number in attendance who had ropes concealed about their persons, and but for an eloquent appeal made by Elder Sherwin to let the law take its course, and not disgrace the village by mob violence, the prisoner would have been executed.

At that time the court house was finished, but no jail had yet been provided, and the stone basempnt on Pearl street, between Second and Third streets, was leased from Col. Childs for the confinement of Watts, who was guarded by a man named McSpadden, hired for that purpose. The prisoner was heavily ironed and safely kept for awhile, but the expense was very considerable, and a jail was built for the safe keeping of the prisoner and others who had been arrested for trifling offenses. In its construction the ceiling was made of joists spiked together, and the attic filled with pounded rock, to the end that a prisoner, if he attempted to bore through the ceiling would be deluged with stones. It was not long, however, before the prisoner dug out through the foundation walls, and when his escape was announced the public turned out to effect his re-capture. About midnight on the second day of the pursuit a party of boys engaged in the search heard the noise of some one filing in the prairie grass near Deacon Smith’s. The alarm was given, and Watts was re-taken and re-conveyed to jail, where he was heavily ironed. Notwithstanding this, and the further assurance endeavored to be secured by the Sheriff visiting him at all hours of the day and night, the prisoner eluded the vigilance, attempted and escaped once more.

Search was again undertaken, but with poor success, for awhile at least. He could not be found anywhere, and the officers and citizens were about giving up the search, when a stagedriver, who twice a week made trips to Hazens, out on the ridge, discovered that Watts was disguised and acting as a hostler at that place. Upon his return he detailed the whereabouts of the fugitive, who was arrested and brought back, and, obtaining a change of venue to Bad Axe County, was tried, convicted and sentenced to Waupun for life.

The account of Sheriff Elder differs materially from the above ; and that no factor or phrase of the horrible crime may be wanting, the statement of that gentleman is submitted substantially as follows:

In the spring of 1852, Watts and Darst came in from Peoria, 111., to Mormon Cooley. where the latter purchased a claim, on which former assisted him to build a cabin. Before its completion, according to an account of the crime furnished by Watts, he asked Darst for some money, which enraged the latter, who retorted that he (Watts) owed him $80; that he had kept him poor, and would not rest until he had ruined him. In the excitement of the moment, Darst made an assault upon his subordinate, who tried to escape, but, being headed off at the door and window, neither of which had been closed in, whereupon Watts seized an unfinished ax-helve, and swinging it around in a threatening manner, struck Darst a fatal blow under the ear. Being “then tempted of the devil,” as he protested, he rifled the murdered man of his money and carried the body part way up the bluffs, near to a point where the two had obtained stone to build a chimney. Upon returning to the house, he yoked up the oxen, and visiting the residence of the Kimball brothers, the three went fishing at the Chipmunk Creek. While driving the oxen, Watts met Mr. Merriman, the nearest neighbor of his victim, who enquired after Darst, with whom he had an engagement to join their teams in some work they had decided it was necessary should be done. »

Watts replied, “he has gone away for a few days, and says you are a d—d scoundrel, and wants nothing to do with you.”

This uncivil and uncalled-for speech on the part of Watts excited Merriman’s suspicions, who sought assistance and discovered the body of Darst. An alarm was given, and Sheriff Eldred arrested Watts and the two Kimballs, all three of them very much intoxicated. That night he locked himself, with the three accused, in Chase & Stevens’ office, and in the morning the Kimballs were horrified upon being informed of what was alleged against them. They at once proposed to “churn out the brains of that critter,” alluding to Watts, but were dissuaded from such an act by the Sheriff, and permitted to visit their families on parole, whence they returned in a few hours to stand trial.

Watts was confronted with the dead body of his victim, but gave no sign of guilt, and a cry was raised to lynch him. This, however, was not done, owing to cooler counsels, and the prisoner was turned over to a Mr. McSpadden, residing on Front street near the present ferry, who kept him in a room in his house, the outer door of which was made fast by rolling a pipe of liquor against it.

The prisoner escaped soon after, and was not recaptured until the following February, notwithstanding the offer of $200 reward for his apprehension, when he was retaken by Messrs. Kellogg and Wasson, and immured in the jail which had been constructed in the meanwhile, where he was manacled, shackled and chained to the wall for safe keeping until his trial, which took place in Crawford County, and resulted in his conviction.

The jail to which allusion is here made was a small one-story stone structure, extending four feet beneath the surface of the ground and abutting upon the rear wall of the court house, into which entrance was afterward made. It was not safe, and in after years was succeeded by the present compact and secure building. The account preceding was obtained from Mr. Eldred, who made the arrest of Watts in the first instance.

When the war broke out, Watts received a pardon, conditioned upon his enlisting in the service, which he did, and all subsequent trace of him was lost.

Mr. Darst lies buried in Oakwood Cemetery, where a plain tombstone relates that “David Darst was murdered by William Watts June 3, 1852.”

A most singular occurrence attended the end of Mr. Merriman. Just two years from the time in which his little dog was the means of enabling him to discover the dead body of Darst, he went wandering up the same ravine, and fell dead in the identical thicket whence he assisted in removing the murdered remains of his friend. The old man was missed by his neighbors, who instituted a thorough search for him, and, while passing through the little cooley back of the missing man’s hut, they encountered his dog. The animal again acted strangely, and scampered off to the thicket as he had done when Darst was missing, then returning and repeating this several times. The searchers finally followed the dog, and were led to the corpse of his master. It was thought that he met foul play, but an examination led to a verdict by a coroner’s jury that he had fallen down dead from an attack of heart disease, almost in the form hollowed out by the body of Darst two years before.

Thus ends the particulars of one of the pioneer murders committed in La Crosse after it became a county—certainly, one of the most cold-blooded and brutal the criminal annals anywhere record, and one whence escape from the usual penalties was comparatively easy. But the frontier settlements even then were too sparsely settled to admit of the expense of a cumbersome system of jurisprudence employed in older settled communities, and the first settlers were always a law unto themselves. But as time passed and the majesty of the law was established,the practice of holding one’s self responsible for his conduct became obsolete, and the redress of grievances was reserved to the courts, those agencies of civilization, and, so equitably have the scales of justice been adjusted, and so irresistibly right have questions arising thereunder been adjudicated, that if it is beyond the wisdom of man to avoid erring in all the affairs of this life, the practice of repetition in evils that have been decreed as such should have been abrogated years ago.

Title: History of La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Author: Consul Willshire Butterfield
Publisher: Western Historical Co., 1881
Pgs 395-400

Another Watertown Boy Writes Home

March 3, 2011

Interesting Letter from California

We are indebted to the kindness of L.A. COLE and L.R. CADY, Esqrs., for an interesting letter from Mr. A. STECK., dated at Amador Creek, a branch of the Dry Creek, which is a branch of the San Joaquim, 50 miles from Sacramento city — Jan. 15-24, 1850. some portions, of a private nature, we omit.

*  *  *  “Scurvy is caused by the use of salt provisions, and nothing else — and every mine in California, is more or less disposed to it. It is cured by the use of vegetables, fresh meat, vinegar, &c. It draws up the cords of the legs and swells the limbs — the gums rot away, and if bad, you have great difficulty in eating.  *  *  *

We ought a barrel of flour cheap at $75, but it was a little musty — $100 was the price, tho’ it did not cost over $10 to $20 at San Francisco. Potatoes here are worth $1.25 a pound, onions the same, beef 50, pork 50 to 100, sheet iron for a washer $2 a pound — other things in proportion. We can get enough to eat, such as it is.

Digging is the hardest work I ever tried — chopping is “no touch” to it. A man cannot average $6 a day in the rainy season. The water gets too high, and the miner cannot get the dirt to wash. All  the gold lies on bars, and in the sides of the banks, and in the beds of the creeks — nowhere else. It is found on the eddy side of the stream, and is evidently deposited there by the yearly wash of the hill sides for centuries. When disturbed by digging, and a freshet following, the gold is drivin down, and a new deposit made — but it is a poor one, and not worth digging. The dust is found amongst rocks, and it is nothing but quarrying. The washing part is not hard. They rainy season set in on the 1st of November, two months earlier than last year — stops a day and then rains a day — clears for a few days, then rains a few days — keeps clear perhaps a week, and when about fairly at work, when any thing can be done on account of the low water, it rains again and bursts the business.

This is just the rainy season, and you have a fair idea of it. The temperature of the winter season, is not quite as warm as that of summer, but is never colder than a fall day in Wisconsin.

A man would be laughed at with gloves or a coat on when working. The country is unhealthy, and is the first place that ever knocked me, yet. Hardel, son of Richard Hardell, who lives between Summit and Waterville, says mining is by far harder than any part of farming. He sometimes sleeps in our cabin on account of having none himself.

There are no great sums taken out at mining. Under very favorable circumstances, a man may, in the dry season, make from 16 to 24 dollars a day. None of us have done much — paid expenses, perhaps, and that is all. We had a great Christmas dinner at our neighbor’s. It cost perhaps $50. There were about 12 guests of us. We had roast venison, pudding, dip, mince pies, sauce, pickles, &c. and whiskey! We all did justice to the feast, and toasted our absent friends.

Plenty of butter here, kegged stuff, at $2.50 a pound — and rank enough. A man is not so strong here as at home. — The climate enervates him, I suppose.

Cattle mire on the tops of the hills. — The low grounds are the firmest, and the ranchoes have thousands on thousands of wild cattle on the streams.

Image from the  NoeHill Travels in California website.

Sacramento city has been several times under water, and the people ferried the streets in boats like the good people of Venice. The American river rose 32 feet in less than two days. The city is at the junction of that stream with the Sacramento, and on as large a scale as Philadelphia — the houses made of cotton cloth stretched on scantling frames. A few stores, hotels, liquor and gaming shops are frame and covered with shingles. Monte is the game played here. It is very simple, and the money staked is lost or won in a second. Sometimes a stiff fellow comes in and slaps down a pile, and its gone or doubled in a twinkle. — The highest bet I knew of, when in the city, was $2000. I have seen Mexicans who have a passion for this game, bet every time from 50 to 200 dollars, until I left the establishment, which was after midnight. There were at least 100 monte tables, with at least $3000 in coin, and twice as much more in dust, stacked up in the middle of each. The scales of gold are usually about twice the thickness of cap paper, and ordinarily from the size of the smallest perceptible speck, to the size of a barley corn. The ravines which contain gold in the beds of the water courses, are called gulches, a corruption of gulf. Stores are opened in all the mines, and goods are abundant, though at enormous prices. Our letters cost us $2 each, and this one will cost me $1 to Sacramento city.

You have long since heard that California has adopted a constitution with the Wilmot Proviso. I heard a rumor that a convention was in session at Monterey, making it, and the next thing I heard, was, that it was adopted. I venture to say that not 10,000 out of the 75, 000 miners, knew the day of its trial — and if they did, they did not know its contents.

Image of Native Americans at Sutter’s Fort from Hetch Hetchy’s Native Blog on The Hive website.

*  *  We have a great many Indians here — the most uncouth, ill-featured, gabbling, black, impudent rascals you ever beheld. They all wear pants, shirts and coats, but neither hats nor shoes. They squaws wear regular frocks. They are diminutive in stature, and lousy, all lousy, very lousy. We passed through a village of 800[or 300] Sioux lodges — the finest looking race I ever saw. “Bull’s-Tail,” the chief, is a little old man about 90 years of age. The whole of the band were gigantic, and much lighter in color than the Menominees, with clear, transparent skins, a lofty air as they moved, and a majestic mien as they saluted us with the usual “how’de’do.” They impressed me with my first idea obtained from books describing Indian character — the native dignity and majesty of the untutored red man. We lay by one day, and visited their camp. They had a horse, mule or pony for every man, woman and child, and I should think more. They were very neatly dressed, well armed, had good blankets and many fat dogs. I think there were full 1000 souls. Some of the young squaws were dressed in soft white fawn skins, as long as any American female’s dress — worked in flounces, with beads of every color tastefully arranged, with a band around the waist, and a kind of cape, ornamented. — Even the little children, many of them, were moccasined.

When the mines were first discovered, and during all last winter, miners made with machines that would not wash as much by one fourth as those they have now, from 50 to 100 dollars every day — and now, with improved machines, make not more than an average of $5 when they work, and that is not more than one half the time. The men who are making the money in California, are the traders and rancheros on the lines of travel from the cities to the mines. The keepers of hotels and eating-houses, are “coining money.” At the City Hotel, they charge $1.50 for breakfast and tea, and $2 for dinner. Regular boarders pay $32 per week. They have about 200 boarders — nine tenths of them monte dealers. The miners are by far the better part of the population. You will find an industrious sober and well behaved people, and in the city there is nothing but gambling and gambling night and day.

*  *  *  The Chilians and Mexicans dug the cream of the mines and made fortunes. In some places they chased out the black rascals — but still they go elsewhere, and will not leave the country.

*  *  *  There are here the largest, tallest and straightest pines in the world — hundreds of them 6 yo 7 feet through, and 100 feet without a limb, in the Siera Nevadas, and I have seen cedars 4 feet through and 80 feet to the limbs.

The hills here are covered with evergreen oak, pine, and other foliage. I presume the oak to be of the live oak species; it is a very stunted tree, but most gloriously green. I can’t think such stuff fit for ship building. There is but a very small part of Calafornia that is worth any thing, apart from its mineral wealth. It is only on the larger streams that the land can be cultivated; and the valleys are exceedingly narrow. Every spot is occupied by a Rancho, and indeed was before the gold was discovered. The mines as now worked will be abandoned in a year or two, for it won’t longer pay, and joint stock companies will do the work. The mines are now well rooted over, and the chances not half so good as last year.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Image by Wayne Johnson (with lots more pictures) in a post about Elko Hot Springs on the Elko County Rose Garden website.  Definitely worth a look!

I was so excited to run across the California Trail marker with a quote from Amos Steck! At the time I was searching for an image of the Green, Humboldt and Carson rivers for a previous Watertown Boys post.

I have kept a journal from the time I left the frontier until the day I reached Sacramento, and have noted a great many curious things. I have not time to give you any part of it in a letter. We crossed a desert of fifty-three miles without grass or water, and our cattle stood it finely. We drove through in the night, and reached the Green River next day at 2 o’clock, P.M., having stopped but an hour and a half to rest a little. We crossed another desert in the night, to Carson River, from the sink of the Humboldt, a distance of forty miles, and there the cattle done finely. We passed a spring at Bear River that was nothing else than soda-water, and deposits of the salt were made so high, as to form quite respectable little hills, fifteen feet say above the surrounding surface. Near by were many springs of a red color, called beer springs, and had a very singular taste. We all drank of them. A short distance from these was the Steamboat spring, of clear, hot water, which rose up and fell a foot or more, resembling the puff of  a high pressure engine. We observed the Indians had been boiling meat in it, and had left some by its side. We saw mineral springs of every variety; and in Hot Spring Valley, 500 miles, perhaps, west of the South Pass, we saw a number of hot springs — one so large as to form a decent creek, and hot to the boiling point. The steam rose from it as from a cauldron; close by is what is called Cold Spring, and cold it was, too. This was in the Basin. On the Humboldt were some springs that rushed like a cataract into the river, and were boiling hot. There was a lake of the same temperature about a mile off, but we did not go see it.

The Humbolt River is a creek, just about big enough to have a name, but not of a river. It is a miserable affair. All the waters of the Basin sink away in the earth — the springs sink most frequently within a rod from the point of issue. We drank from a number of sulphur springs, and saw thousands of salt springs. The whole country is impregnated with salt, from the Rocky Mountains almost to the foot of the Nevadas.

We saw lakes upon lakes of saleratus, as pure as ever was manufactured, and purer. We could have got ten thousand ship loads of it! A great many emigrants used it. It covered the waters of the lake six and eight inches thick. It was of course made from the water by evaporation, under the influence of the sun. It looked like ice. The Mormons get it in any quantity, and have always used it. The country in the neighbourhood of these lakes is nothing but ashes, as good ashes as were ever burnt from rock maple wood, but not quick, on account of the winter rains upon it.

We passed through some fields white as snow, and as good lime as could be made from the stone, or from sea-shells. Clouds of dust, lime dust, ashes dust, and other dusts, sometimes enveloped us and the whole sky. No thunder storm that you ever saw looked so fearful. We sometimes disputed whether is was rain or not, but it always turned out wind and dust. The cattle during half of the entire way, sunk into the dust to the fetlocks, and for days and days up to their knees. All the drivers had to do was to hold on to the ox-bow of the nigh wheel ox, and let it “swizzle.”  *  *  *  There is not timber enough from the Missouri River to the Nevadas, to build a railroad ten miles; and I have seen 500 miles without timber sufficient to build a chicken coop. Our fuel was willow and sage. The whole country from the Missouri to the Nevada is a prairie, and nine-tenths of it desert. We saw Buffalo, and eat them, as also antelopes, &c.

Democratic State Register (Watertown, Wisconsin) Apr 2, 1850


A number were received in town by Monday’s mail. Mr. STECK writes that he is employed in the Sacramento postoffice, at a salary of $200 per month. He had either seen or heard from most of our “boys” a short time previously. They were all well. Gen. GILMAN does not write very flatteringly. We judge from what we have heard of the tone of these letters, that our friends there are not realizing their expectations.

We also received a letter from the “Rothschild of Coloma,” inclosing some beautiful specimens, to the value of eight or ten dollars. Thanks, brother LITTLE!

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 16, 1850

California Letter.

The following letter, for which we are indebted to Mrssrs. COLE and CADY, from A. STECK, late of this village, we hope will prove interesting to our readers:

Sacramento City, Aug. 29, 1850.


*  *  *  *  I have abandoned mining, and am now living in the city and doing very well — much better than I could at mining. I advise every body who has a decent living in their States to stay there and not come here to mine. I can give you no better illustration of gold mining than you have in your own State in lead mining — the proportion of lucky fellows are now about the same; though in the earlier periods of gold digging, it was a certain and rapid road to fortune. The reason of this change is very plain. When first discovered, miners got out large quantities of the dust, not because it lay any thicker in the earth than it now does, but when the placers were first discovered the population was so spare, that every man was able to make out  his “lead” without any interruption from his neighbors; that is, if a man found a lead which would pay him 50, 60, or $100 per day, he could work it all out, because his neighbors had holes which paid just as well. Now, however, if a lead is found which will pay an ounce per day, before the sun sets the lead is cut off by others, who are only waiting such discovery to pounce right in. Fifteen feet is allowed the discoverer, and in some instances less — sometimes more — this may be worked out in a few days, and he is thus compelled to move about to get another place to work. In the mean time his expenses eat up the profits of his last hole, and he starts anew. Thus nine-tenths of the miners live, and many will tell you even a larger proportion.

Labor in the mines has always been approaching, and perhaps stands in the same relation to capital, and other occupations here, as it does at home. Occasionally a company, large or small, will get out a pile in a fortnight; all such cases are chronicled here in the papers. Nine out of ten of all the stories you hear are false; nobody believes them here, they are the work of speculators and others. You may get  correct idea of the change in mining prosperity from the fact, that business men are staggering under the load of responsibilities assumed under the belief, that the same success in the mines heretofore realized, would continue. Several bankers here have broken in a single fortnight, and others will break like pipe stems before another has gone by. Barton Lee, an Oregon emigrant, who settled here in May 1849, began trade with less than $500 capital, was actually worth, nine months ago, half a million dollars. No man here doubts it — he has often made 25 cents per foot on lumber, and turned the cash in three days. He has failed. The reason of this failure unquestionably was, a mistaken notion of the yield of the mines; the deposits in his hands were not equal to his expectations: the prices of real estate, lumber, goods, &c., had greatly depreciated, the enormous sums expended in the erection of buildings, the rents of which had fallen, all contributed to crush the man. Had he sat still and sold every alternate lot in this city which he owned, and improved the remainder, he would now be worth more than a million; but like most men suddenly rising into notoriety and importance by the accident of wealth, he could not take care of it. Waldron had nearly a thousand dollars in his hands, secured by the endorsement of Mayor Bigelow, who has not yet broken. Waldron is perfectly satisfied he will be paid in sixty days. I presume Lee paid off a million of deposits before his assignment. This amount, recollect, was in gold, and was paid to that portion of his creditors here and in San Francisco, who apprehended his real situation.

I see nothing in this city, (or at least not much,) that differs from cities in any western States, except the absence of females. A western man can more readily appreciate what is the state of society here, than the resident of a city in the States. All the excesses which are daily seen, is the result of the absence of intelligent and virtuous young women. Men who would be foremost in denouncing the “Public Hells,” so numerous in this country, had they their families here, would quietly “pursue the even tenor of their way.” These gambling saloons are the most costly and extravagant affairs in this extravagant country, — here, drinks of every kind, cooled with fresh Boston ice, are always to be had — sweetmeats, pies, fruits, and all the delicasies of this sunny clime, are here dealt out by the hands of familiar and voluptuous young females. Marvelously excessive quantities of strong drinks are here consumed nightly. Chandeliers, which cost extravagant prices in the cheapest markets of the world, sheds over the scene a dazzling light. — ‘Music soft as brooklet’s flow,’ is ‘floating, warbling, here below.’ — Bands of minstrels are pouring forth their melodies from ‘grave to gay,’ to seduce the passer-by to stop and drink, and venture for his fortune. — Crowds of persons throng around the tables, some venturing their little all — others gazing with little less excitement upon the hazard of the game — others again elbowing their way through the crowd, to catch the face of some familiar friend — while the bustle at the bar, the eternal jingle of money from more than a dozen ‘monte banks,’ and the occasional cry of ‘Eagle bird by chance,’ completes the picture of a California gaming saloon. I have stood and gazed upon the throng which nightly gather to these resorts, and wondered at the folly of the multitude. What monuments of magnificence built on the ruins of others! There are few distinctions in society, — men are nearly all of one rank, the wicked and the good stand up before the world as equal. We need the softly chiding and restraining influence of woman, to give rank to honorable and virtuous men, and break up these places that fatten upon sin.

I had written the foregoing late last night, and tumbled upon my kangaroo skins to dream of home and the friends who were ‘over the hills and far away.’ I resume this morning, that this letter may go out by this mail which closes before noon. I enclose you a rough sketch of what I will call a ‘Placer,’ — imagine it to be, say ten miles square, and this high up on the mountains — the only part of this country where gold is found that pays for the working. The main river contains no gold save in the bars, marked thus [ ] – the immediate bed of the streams are marked in spots, say one-fourth part of them — no more than that will pay — the balance contains very little gold. The aluvial diggings where I worked, averaged about six inches in either bank to the entire run of the streams — that is, suppose the deposit of gold to be found in each bank of the width of six inches, and from one foot to four feet in depth, from the source to the mouth — this “dirt” yielding 25 cents to the bucketfull (wooden pail), and you have a sort of idea of the proportion of alluvian diggings to other diggings; but the banks for many rods may not contain a single scale, and, again, the deposit may be found many feet in either bank. About one-tenth of the ‘dirt’ of the bars in the rivers pays; and this ‘dirt’ (I use the miners’ phrase) hes in strata or ‘streaks,’ as we say. Thus you can tell what proportion of the whole mining country contains gold. I have marked on this rough diagram the number of bars in the ran of the fiver for ten or twelve miles. I have made no calculation of the extent of the mines, but from my experience, observation, and information obtained from a thousand sources, I would estimate it in this way. — If all the earth in California, containing deposits of gold equal in value to 25 cents per pailfull, was spread upon a plain two fee in depth and twenty-five miles square, it would exhaust every dollar of gold dust in California. I may be widely from the mark, but it strikes my mind as approximating somewhat to the truth. You have seen letters, I suppose, stating the presence of gold even on the hill tops; this is true, but not the whole truth in the neighborhood of the city of Navada, there are one or two hills which are worked, and there is no water there nine months in the year to wash it, and the rest of the time it rains like fire and tow. Amongst 100,000 hills there are one or two that pay to work, and half the miners in this country could dig and wash them away in an hour before breakfast. On other hills the gold can be found like ‘two grains of wheat in three bushels of chaff,’ ‘few and far between.’ And on the rest of them a microscope which would magnify a Loco Foco’s conscience into being, or to any perceptible size, could not find a speck in an age as long as Methusalah’s. I would like to talk with you about gold hunting, and the way of doing up our ‘linen’ in the mines, and all the little fixing of keeping Bachelor’s Hall under a stunted hazel bush in the open air, but I have not the time now, and don’t know when I shall have. I have come to the conclusion that this is a very healthy country for a new country. Persons not engaged in the mining business enjoy excellent health; and miners who would expose themselves in the States as they do here, and must do, would die off like flies in a frosty morning. There are no diseases in this country of very malignant character; true, I had more sickness here than in the rest of my life, but it was incident to the occupation not the climate. In the mines there is scurvy, a disease which aided materially to hasten the death of old Hanson. I had attached something disgraceful to a man who had the scurvy, and probably derived this idea from Shakespeare, who makes some of his fools and others use the term as one of reproach; but its origin, or rather cause, is simply the want of vegetable acids in the blood necessary to give it a proper tone. No man dreams of scurvy when he lives in a city of on a Ranch, because he can get fruit of all kinds. It does not get so almighty hot here as you would suppose after all that is said about hot weather. I send you a copy of the ‘Times,‘ which contains a meteorological table made by one of the clerks in our office. You can see exactly how much heat I suffered every day. The sun pours down a glare absolutely scorching; the atmosphere is clean and healthy, no cloud ever darkens the horizon, yet one day there was a few, light, smoky looking clouds — mean since the rainy season closed, but they amounted to nothing more than the eclipse of the sun, foretold in every almanac to happen for the last ten years — it would have taken a smoked glass to find out the fact. You would think vegitation would dry up under such a blaze as it poured upon the earth every day; not one drop of rain has fallen since last April, (19th of the month). This is true of the mountain ranges, but not so of the valleys, they are as fresh as the ‘ivy green.’

Our city was the scene of great excitement, of which you have heard by the last steamer. The mail boat with he mail from this office, left the wharf just after the mayor and several of the citizens were reported to have been killed. You will see the difficulty detailed in the papers which I send you; it is but fair, however, to say that the papers are in the interest of the ‘Sutter title party,’ and may be looked upon as rather ex parte than fairly made. All is quiet now, and has been for some time; the last hopes of squatterdom have for ever fled, though hundreds of people strongly sympathize with them — this sympathy is principally in the mines. There are no apologists for their recent conduct in this city, although opinion as to the Sutter title, may be considered equal amongst those who ought to understand such questions.

The buckskin coats, red flannel shirts, and other outre habiliments, have generally given place to the neatly starched white shirt, with standing collar, in one of which I find myself up to my ears every morning. I board at a very excellent hotel for an ounce a week, payable every Saturday night; all the clerks, numbering some seven or more sleep in the office. The last mail from the States brought over 15,000 letters, and the next will be heavier still; I mean for this city office. We get the mail within one or two days of the time expected, and that too every two weeks; so you may suppose a berth in this office is no sinecure. I have seen Lieutenant Wright, John Levitt, Waldron, Stevens, Winders and Stimpson, within two weeks, and wrote to and received a letter from old Jimmy Rogan. Bracket and Bailey I know nothing about, although I have made inquiry for them very frequently. The postmaster, an old friend of mine from Penn., has gone to Washington on business, and left this office in charge of a very sociable and agreeable young man fully equal to the position. I received your letter, (written in last June), and sent it to Rogan. Stimpson has gone to Haughton, about fifty miles from here, and his health is very good, he is very fat, and feels sanguine of making his pile after all his ill-luck. Old Jim is in a dam company on the north fork of the American; the dam is not yet finished. I heard from him to-day, he says he will be into the bed of the river in a fortnight; I hope a fortune awaits him.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
Remember me to all my Watertown friends.

And believe me,
Yours sincerely,

Democratic State Register (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 28, 1850

Letter from A. Steck, Esq.

[Correspondence of the Watertown Chronicle.]
SACRAMENTO CITY, Oct. 29, 1850.

J.A. HADLEY, Esq.:

DEAR SIR — *  *  *  My time is so much taxed, that I have hardly enough left me to carry on my private correspondence, else it would give me pleasure to Chronicle the items of California news for your paper once a month at least. I do not write this with the view that you will publish it, but merely  that you may state the correction of the error into which you were led with regard to Mr. blodgett in your own terms and not in my language.*

Considerable alarm pervades the public mind in this city concerning the cholera, and hundreds are leaving the town in hopes of escaping it. I shall weather it out, or fall a victim.

Image from the Apr 27, 1959 LIFE magazine on Google books.

You  may have read in Bayard Taylor’s notes on California, a description of the postoffice mania, or rather letter mania, when he was a clerk in the San Francisco office. —

It is literally true, and almost the same scenes are here witnessed on the arrival of every mail from the states. At the peep of day on any morning can be seen a line of men to each window of the general deliveries of the postoffice, anxiously awaiting the opening of the office at 8 o’clock, to get their letters; and many a time have I seen persons taking their breakfasts in the line — some sitting on stools which they had brought with them, sipping their coffee, whilst others called to a neighboring bar keeper for a stiff “eye-opener,” having just crawled out of their blankets and came to the postoffice to wait their turn to ask for letters.

The way they operate to prevent quarrelling amongst the outstanders, is to form into a line, and each man is served in order in which he stands in the ranks. As one is accommodated, he leaves the window, and another makes his inquiry. No more than one name can be asked for at one time, else those at the tail end of the line would never get their letters. If any man wants more than his own letters, he is obliged to go back to the extreme end of the rank and train up to the window. We have four general deliveries at this office, and the training up goes on every day from morning till night. In addition, we have two box deliveries, a ladies’ window, advertised delivery and newspaper window. That’s considerable for an office not much more than a year old.

There is no news of interest from the mines other than you will have seen by the papers, of which I send you several.

The Whigs will have a majority in the next legislature, and ought to elect an United States senator, but I fear they will be cheated out of it by the Locos.

I have written so many letters about the gold regions that what I would say here would be but a repetition of what I have written heretofore. As to all your acquaintances here from Watertown, you can call upon Mr. Cady and get information, if you desire it from him. Your acquaintances here are always calling on me for your paper, and I never get it myself. It don’t come to this office, if you have sent any more, they never came to hand. If you will send it, I will send you Sacramento papers every steamer. The principal items of Watertown news here come through the Milwaukee papers, and every item from your paper is seized with the greatest avidity by the Watertown boys.

The elections in this city lately were not contested on political grounds, but in another year the whole canvas will turn upon partisan questions. In San Francisco the party lines were drawn, but no where else in California. I think the Whigs have a clear majority in this state, and if they are not fools, they will assert it.

Yours, &c. AMOS STECK.

*The first part of Mr. STECK’s letter is devoted to a contradiction of the report that GEO. G. BLODGETT, Esq., formerly of Milwaukee, had had his head shaved and his ears cropped by the Mormons at Salt Lake. — Our readers will recollect that we made a like correction some months ago. We received the report from what we considered a reliable source; and our only object in publishing it was to acquaint the numerous friends of Mr. B. in this state, of the outrage which we supposed had been committed upon him.

+ If the Chronicle is not regularly received at Sacramento City, the fault is not ours. We have mailed it, almost every week, for the past year, either to Mr. STECK or to some of the other Watertown boys. Beside, we have two subscribers in that city, who emigrated from other sections of this state, to one of whom our paper had been regularly sent for six months past, and to the other for about two months. We cheerfully accept the offer of an exchange maybe by Mr. S.

[Ed. Chronicle.

Watertown Chronicle – Jan 1, 1851

Previous “Watertown Boys” Posts:

Forty-Niner Profiles:The Watertown Boys


The Watertown Boys Head for California


Arrival of the Watertown Boys: Letters from John C. Gilman

Acrostic for the Dead: Gov. Louis Powell Harvey

February 18, 2011

For the Daily Gazette.
Affection’s Tribute.


G one from the post of duty, gone with harness on,
O ver the river, to the farther shore!
V eiled sadly from our vision, sleeping his last sleep,
E nded his earthly task, his labors o’er!
R evering freedom, justice, to the latest hour,
N o thought had he save for his country’s good!
O n mercy’s holy mission — to relieve distress —
R an he his race, and sank beneath the flood!

H e, being dead, speaketh to our aching hearts.
A h! how we loved him for the deeds he wrought!
R adiant with patriotic lights his kindly soul,
V alient for freedom, truth his highest thought!
E ternal One! who ruleth over all,
Y ield us support, while good men round us fall!

Janesville, April 22d. 1862.

— W —


MRS. HARVEY. — The Madison Journal relates the circumstances under which Mrs. Harvey obtained the sad tidings of the death of her husband. She was at capitol when the dispatch was received by Adjutant-General Gaylord, obtaining subscriptions to aid a destitute family in the city. An attempt was made to get her to her boarding place before the contents of the dispatch were made known. She at once saw by the countenances of those whom she met that some bad tidings had been received.

Adjutant-General Gaylord and Mr. Sawyer, her brother-in-law, attempted to accompany her home, and told her that a rumor had been received that gave him some anxiety in regard to the Governor. As Gen. Gaylord was attempting to conceal the full extent of the calmnity, she stopped while they were walking through the Park and said: “Tell me if he is dead!” While he evaded a direct reply, she read the fatal news in the expression of his face and dropped senseless upon the walk. She was soon revived sufficiently to be conveyed home, but remained in a state nearly approaching distraction.

Attorney General Howe left on the morning train for Cairo, for the purpose of obtaining and bringing back the body if it can be found. He was accompanied as far as Chicago by Mrs. Harvey and her sister, Mrs. Sawyer.

Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Apr 22, 1862

Particulars of the Death of Governor Harvey.

We are indebted to Dr. R.B. Treat, of this city, for the following particulars connected with the loss of Gov. Harvey:

Gov. Harvey returned from Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon on the ferry boat, having previously made an arrangement with the captain of the steamer Minnehaha to call in the evening at Savannah for him and his party. The governor had been exceedingly busy for several days reorganizing the 16th and 18th regiments, and attending to such other duties that the welfare of Wisconsin troops seemed to require. He had labored assiduously day and night and had accomplished the object of his mission except as to the details which he intended to do at his leisure while returning.

He seemed more restless and thoughtful than usual, but appeared to be in the best of spirits, as if conscious of having fully discharged many and onerous duties of his humane mission. We concluded to remain on the Dunleith and await the steamer from the landing. All of our party except the governor and myself, had retired, exhausted with their labors, and were soon asleep. The governor was extremely communicative and spoke hopefully of the complete restoration of the 16th and 18th to their full number and efficiency; also, of the success of our arms in the coming contest at Corinth, which he deemed could not long be delayed.

It was near 10 o’clock when we also concluded to get some rest, when stepping out upon the deck of the Dunleith, we saw the Minnehaha coming down, hailed her as she rounded too, when the captain inquired if Gov. Harvey was aboard the Dunleith. Upon being answered in the affirmative, he came along side and attached the bows of the Minnehaha to the Dunleith. Governor Harvey then went above and woke up his friends and came down very soon after and met Drs. Wilson and Clark, who had come down upon the Minnehaha. They shook hands and the governor passed back toward the stern of the Dunleith, along a narrow way which had no guards. It was lighted by torch, but the deck being wet and slippery, and the probabilities are that he stepped too near the edge when his foot slipped, causing him to fall into the river between the boats. Drs. Wilson and Clark immediately gave the alarm and rushed to his assistance. Dr. Wilson reached him his cane which Gov. Harvey grasped firmly as he came up the first time, but Dr. Wilson found it impossible to hold on to it without being himself precipitated into the river, was compelled to let go, Dr. Clark then sprung overboard and had nearly reached him when he went down again, the current carrying him underneath the barges lying below the Dunleith. Boats and lights were immediately procured and strict watch observed for some time, hoping that he might be carried down stream by the rapid current and yet saved. We finaly gave over the fruitless search and in consultation, concluded to leave a sufficient number to look for the body in the morning. Gen. Brodhead and Dr. Wolcott were selected with three others of the party, while the remainder were to return, bearing the sad intelligence to his family and friends. Drs. Clark and Wilson are deserving of much credit, having periled their own lives to save that of Gov. Harvey.More particularly would I speak of Dr. Clark, who undoubtedly would have met a watery grave had he came in contact with Gov. Harvey.

Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Apr 23, 1862

Gov. Harvey.

After noticing the sudden death of Gov. Harvey, the Chicago Tribune thus sketches the leading events of his life:

“Gov. Harvey was born at East Haddam, Ct., July 23d, 1820. His parents emigrated to Ohio and located at Shawmsville in 1828. He was educated at Western Reserve College, Hudson, and removed to Kenosha, Wis., in 1840. His first labors in the new state of his adoption were as a teacher in the academy of Kenosha, and later he edited with credit and honor to himself, the Whig organ published in that city. In the same place he was married in ’48, to the esteemed lady who survives him. In 1850 Gov. Harvey moved to Shopiere, Rock county, where he engaged in the manufacturing business, and has since resided there. He was a member of the first constitutional convention, and represented Rock county in the state senate two terms, from 1853 to 1857. He was then elected secretary of state, a place he held until last fall, when he was elected governor. A man of incorruptible integrity, an earnest patriot, Wisconsin was fortunate that the result of her last memorable campaign in state politics placed him at the head of her affairs. He has been earnest and zealous in calling her sons to the field, and in securing fidelity and thoroughness in every detail of their equipment. And when there came from the battle field a call for humanity, in behalf of our wounded, Gov. Harvey was the first to answer to the appeal, and it was the closing act of his useful and honored life.

“Wisconsin had no nobler or truer man than Louis P. Harvey, nor had she ever a more upright, patriotic or incorruptible executive. His untimely decease will fill the breasts of her people with sorrow, and the whole west will sympathize with their grief.”

Janesville Daily Gazette – Apr 23, 1862

From the Madison Journal
Incidents in the Early Life of Governor Harvey.

In our brief and hasty sketch of Gov. Harvey the other day, some mistakes occurred as to dates, and there were some omissions relative to his early life, which we propose briefly to remedy, from the best information we have been able to obtain.

LOUIS POWELL HARVEY was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, July 22, 1820. In 1828, his father removed to Strongville, Ohio. His parents not being wealthy, it was necessary that Louis should be the artificer of his own fortune. In 1837 he entered the freshman class in the Western Reserve College at Hudson, Ohio.

Concerning his collegiate course, a class-mate, Rev. Mr. Brown, at a meeting in La Crosse, thus speaks:

As class-mates and members of the same literary society, and boarders in the same family, our acquaintance was of the most intimate kind. I can bear testimony to his early character, that it was without a stain. He was a noble youth. With brilliant talents, good scholarship, and pleasing manners, he became a favorite among his fellow students. Impulsive in temperament, of unbounded wit and humor, yet chastened by Christian principle. He possessed that rare quality of true nobility, a promptness to retract an error, or confess a wrong. When a sharp word or sally of wit had wounded the feelings of a fellow student, I have seen him repair to this room, and with a warm grasp of his hand, and a tear in his eye, say:

“Brother, forgive me if I have hurt your feelings!”

Being straitened in means, he worked a portion of his leisure hours at book-binding. In the junior year he was compelled to leave to seek employment to enable him to seek employment, to enable him to pursue his studies.

We understand that ill health was the cause of his leaving college previous to graduating.

He sent a short time as a teacher in Nicholsonville, Ky., after which he obtained a situation as tutor in Woodward College, Cincinnati, and after remaining in this position some two years, he turned his steps in a westerly direction, and located at Southport (now Kenosha) in this state, in the fall of 1841.

The Kenosha Telegraph speaks of his career in that place as follows:

He came a stranger, without influential friends to aid him, and without capital, except a good character and a well cultivated mind, which are, after all, better foundations for a young man to build upon than money.

The first business in which he was engaged here was teaching. He found a building which had been erected for the purpose of an academy, but which had never yet been occupied for educational purposes. He immediately hired the building, put out advertisements, inviting students, and opened his school on the 25th of December, 1841. His patronage was not large but all that could reasonably be expected, in view of the newness of the town. In the summer of 1843, he took the editorial charge of the Southport American, a whig paper which had been established in the fall of 1841. He, however did not relinquish the business of teaching, but continued his school. Although this was his first attempt at editing a newspaper, he displayed tack and ability in this new vocation. The American while under his charge was a lively and spirited paper. He was an ardent politician, but never indulged in personal invective, and was generally courteous in the discussion of political differences.

He was generous, genial, possessing an unusual flow of humor; and it was, perhaps, these qualities, combined with others of more intrinsic worth, which rendered him popular among all classes. As an evidence of the strong hold he had on the favor of the people, during his early political career, it may be mentioned that after the expiration of his first years’ residence here, he was put forward annually by his political friends, for some ward or town office. The contest at the polls for these offices was unusually spirited and conducted on party grounds. It is a noticeable fact, seen by reference to our town election returns of those years, that Mr. Harvey invariably run ahead of his ticket, and usually succeeded to an election, even when his party was clearly a minority one.

“Mr. Harvey in early life, exhibited more than ordinary talent as a public speaker, and possessed the elements of a popular orator in a good degree. While engaged in the business of teaching, he was zealous in his endeavors to organize the young men of the town into lyceums, for public discussions on the important topics of the day. Doubtless this early practice of public speaking, was the means of giving him prominence in after times, as a good debater in the state senate, and as an effective platform orator. His example in this respect, is well worthy the imitation of all young men who aspire to positions of influence and usefulness among the people.”

For a short time in 1844, he held the office of postmaster, under the administration of Mr. Tyler. The Telegraph remarks:

As a friend of education, and the interests of our public schools, Mr. Harvey was always ready to aid and give encouragement. In short, in all enterprises — educational, philanthropic or benevolent, he could always be counted upon to give his influence and to speak a good word.

Although Mr. Harvey, while a young man, was the object of popular favor and applause, yet he preserved a gentlemanly equinimity, and did not allow himself to become inflated with pride and conceit; nor did he give way to the temptations which surround young men who are the subject of flattering regard. He was a temperance man from principle — abstaining from all intoxicating liquors. He was moreover a religious man, and a church communicant (Congregational.) There is much in the life of Gov. Harvey while a young man, that is instructive and worthy of example by the young men of the state. To a large extent it may be truly said, he was a self-made man. Before the age of 19 years he was thrown upon his own resources; by untiring industry and perseverance, he achieved a reputation that will live in history, and command the respect and admiration of men in after ages.

In 1847, Mr. Harvey was married to Miss Cordelia Perrine, and removed to Clinton, in Rock county, where he commenced trade. In the fall of that year he was elected to the second constitutional convention, where he distinguished himself as an able debater, and was one of the most influential members of that body.

Afterwards he removed to Shopiere, in Rock county, where he has ever since resided. Of his labors here, his friend Rev. Mr. Brown thus speaks:

“He purchased the water power, tore down the distillery, that had cursed the village, and in its place built a flouring mill and established a retail store, and exerted a great influence in reforming the morals of the place. A neat stone edifice was built, mainly by his munificence, for the Congregational church, of which he was a member, and his uncle, Rev. O.S. Powell, settled as its pastor. It is a coincidence worthy of remark, that Mr. Powell came to his death also by drowning at Fort Atkinson, July 2, 1855.

Of the subsequent career of Gov. Harvey — as state senator, secretary of state and governor, and as a leading citizen of the state, it is unnecessary to refer to them in this connection.

Janesville Daily Gazette – Apr 30, 1862

As an aside for people interested in San Diego, California history, Charles P. Francisco was a nephew of A.E. Horton. In 1872, Mr. Francisco married Miss Mary Evelyn Harvey, the niece of Gov. Harvey. Mr. Francisco arrived in San Diego in 1869. He passed away in 1913, at the age of sixty-eight.

You can read more about him in the following book:

Title:  San Diego and Imperial Counties, California: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement,  Volume 2
Page 434
Author   : William Ellsworth Smythe
Editor   : Samuel T. Black
Publisher   : The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913

What are We Coming to?

February 13, 2011

{The following is the PRIZE POEM read at the County Fair. Composed by Mrs. E.S. KELLOGG, Janesville.}



Hark! whence that sound of chariot wheels,
Rumbling along like muttering peals
Of distant thunder?

Nearer and nearer the echo steals,
Earth, with the shock, like a drunkard reals,
As though the Book with the seven seals
Were rent asunder.

‘Tis the march of mind with the world in tow;
Through tickets for all — the high and the low,
Onward and upward, away we go
In wild commotion,

As when some sudden volcanic throe
Hurls burning rocks on the plains below
And rivers of lava quench their flow
In th’ boiling ocean.

No manual force can hold her back;
No moral suasion her speed can slack;
For ourself, alone, we could stand the rack
With stern endurance.

But oh! if some of the gear should crack,
and throw the engine off from the track,
Turning all upside down — alack,
Who’d pay the insurance?

‘Twill be in vain, when our race is run,
To wish we had still kept plodding on
Steady, sure, and slow,

As in the days when each duteous son
Finished the work his father begun;
And the daughters wove and carded and spun,
Just as their dear old mothers had done
Fifty years ago.

Each generation (in their own eyes),
As time progresses, become more wise;
(Mere self-deceivings,)

And thus the heir, when the father dies,
Begins to re-model, re-build, revise,
Till very soon he learns to despise
The old man’s leavings.

Plotting and planning, with all his might
He works away from morning to night,
At new inventions.

The precious models are locked from sight
Until he obtains a patent right;
Then, they are ushered into light
With great pretensions.

They chain the lightning, and harness steam;
“The one hoss shay” and the old ox team
In quiet slumber

Have passed away, like a poet’s dream;
And thus, in turn, what now we deem
Perfection’s hight, will float down stream
Like useless lumber.

Just take a peep at a County Fair,
You’ll find a medley collected ahere,
In proud array, sir.

Beasts of the field and birds of the air,
Fruits of the earth, and specimens rare
Of Yankee invention, everywhere;
But if you are verdant, friend, take care!
You may get shaved before you’re aware,
Without a razor.

An Agricultural show, they call
The exhibition at Floral Hall;
Take a turn around —

Examine those pictures upon the wall;
This milliner’s shop, that jeweler’s stall;
And do you suppose they raised them all
By tilling the ground?

Another improvement of the day —
The Ladies’ Equestrian Display;
Fearless and free they gallop away
Cheered by the million.

What would a modern Amazon say
To yielding the reins of her gallant grey,
And mounting behind a Cavalier gay,
On grand-mother’s pillion?

A flourish of trumpets from the band,
The crowd are assembling before the stand
To hear the address.

The speech abounds in sentiments grand —
“We live in a favored age and land;
Art, Science and Labor, hand in hand,
Are circling the earth with a three-fold band;
Nations are bowing to our command,
And Young America’s potent wand
The world will bless.”

‘Mid loud applause the speaker retires,
But, Phoenix like, from his smouldering fires,
Lo, a Poet ascends!

The Orator’s theme his muse inspires,
Rhyme piles on rhyme while the crowd admires,
And the critic’s brow, like spiral wires
Contracts or expands as the case requires,
But never unbends.

What though he pronounce the measure lame,
The subject trite, and the language tame,
The One Idea is ever the same —
Our Country’s Glory.

The Union is one stupendous frame;
Each state a pillar supporting the same;
Inscribed all over with honor and fame,
And none can boast a prouder name
Than Old Rock County, whose highest claim
Winds up the story.

Then let the Orator’s thoughts profound,
From Mount Parnassus again resound
In echoing verse.

But woe to the Muse! while riding around,
Unruly Pegassus starts off with a bound,
Throwing her ladyship flat on the ground;
But, nevertheless, the Poet gets crowned,
And the throng disperse.

Faster and faster the startled world,
Like Pelion from Olympus hurled,
Rushes through the air;

And Freedom’s car with banners unfurled,
Is over the neck of tyranny whirled;
While brooding Fear, in a corner curled,
Cries out in despair,

What are we coming to?

Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Sep 27, 1859


NEW MUSIC. — We have received from the author, Mr. T. Martin Towne, of this city, two pieces of music just published — one entitled “Blue Eyed Jennie; or our Household Treasure,”” and the other, “O, Touch Not My Sister’s Picture; or the Confession of a Rebel Prisoner.” Both are songs with choruses. The words are also of home production; those to the first named piece are by Mrs. C.M. Stowe and to the other by Mrs. E.S. Kellogg, and are creditable to the authors. The music is very pretty — particularly “Blue Eyes Jennie” — and ought to meet with large sale.

Janesville Daily Gazette – Jan 21, 1864

NOTE: I believe Mrs. E.S. Kellogg was Electa S. Kellogg (Electa Stratton Washburn,) wife of Seth H. Kellogg, a fruit grower and nurseryman. She wrote the lyrics to several songs that were put to music by Mr. Towne. The link on his name goes to The Music of Thomas Martin Towne webpage, which has several of the songs by Mrs. Kellogg. There are music files as well as lyric files for the songs listed on the website.

Watertown Boys Head For California

February 11, 2011

“We’re bound for Californy,
Our pockets for to fill!”

Yesterday morning seven of our own citizens and two of neighboring towns, took up their line of march for California. They are to proceed by wagon to Galena, thence by steamboat to St. Louis and Independence, and thence as “circumstances” may dictate to the “diggings.” Their names are —

Stephen Stimpson,       Louis Meyer,
Henry Waldron,        James Stevens,
Martin P. Glines,         Luke Colburn,
Amos Steck,               Ole Hanson.
Nelson Whitney,

Among this list will be recognized some of our oldest and most respectable citizens. They leave in high spirits, hardly realizing, we fear, the hardships and privations before them. While we regret to part with them, we cannot but hope that their most extravagant expectations may be fully realized, and that within two years from this time, we may hail the return of each, with “all their pockets” well filled with the precious metal.

They intend celebrating the 4th of July at the South Pass, making those wild and distant hills and valleys re-echo, for the first time, the songs and the sentiments of liberty.

Watertown has contributed liberally to the mighty stream of emigration that is setting toward California. In addition to those given above, five others have left within a few weeks past, viz:

Francis McCluskey,        Henry Helman,
Philip Johnson,        Bernard Crangle.
Darius Gibbs,

There are others here who have caught the fever, and we should not wonder if they, too, should soon be “carried off.”

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Apr 11, 1849

Image of the Pony Express Route – click to enlarge – Find the Forts etc. mentioned by the Watertown Boys.

A Californian’s Epistle.

[Correspondence of the Watertown Chronicle]

May 10, 1849.}

FRIEND H. — According to your request, I drop you a hasty line, informing you of the whereabouts and success of the Watertown boys. We all reached St. Louis at dark on Monday evening, April 16th. I left the boys there and proceeded on my way up the Missouri river to this point. After leaving St. Louis the third day of our passage, a poston rod broke, and detained up six days. We reached St. Joseph on Monday the 30th of April, where I found all the Watertown boys except my mess, they having passed up the river while we were lying to below for repairs. They were all in fine spirits, and said the Elephant had not yet been discovered. Thursday or Friday following they intended to leave for the plains, crossing the river at Fort Kearney. But I had to leave them and find my mess. I reached here May 3d and found Mack and Phil in the tallest kind of clover, they having reached here two weeks before, and were “camped out” and going through the regular routine of camp duty in order to get “broke in” before leaving for the plains. They had a very hard time while on their way — all bridges through the country where they traveled were gone, the streams were high, and the water very cold. But they were in good health and spirits, and bound to go-ahead. They have seen harder times than they will again see on their route to California, at least so the old guides tell us.

The hardships and dangers of the trip have been greatly magnified by those who know nothing about it. We are told that the road for 500 or 600 miles on this end of the route is of the best description. There is very little danger to be apprehended from the Indians, if a vigilant watch is kept up. It is impossible to tell how many emigrants are intending to cross the plains this season. But from what I have seen and heard others say, I should think 15,000 to be a high estimate. Of these some 3,000 are Mormons destined for the Salt Lake. A few teams have already crossed the river and are on their way, but it is yet full early, on account of the grass, as it is not much grown, the spring having been backward. Our company are now ferrying some of their wagons and teams over, and on Saturday, I think, our team will cross, when we take up our march over the plains.

But this California life is a great one shirt and pants, hat and boots, knife and pistol — them’s your rig. No coat, no vest, no neck handkerchief, no suspenders, a belt round your waist — haven’t shaved for a month, eat like a trooper, sleep like a brick, don’t care a snap for any body, no body cares a fig for you. That is what you may call independence.

There is generally a very good feeling existing among the Californians, but now and then they have a brush among themselves. I hear this morning of a company who crossed at a point about 20 miles above this, after proceeding 15 miles on their way, fell out and had a regular fist-fight. Some of them were sadly bruised, and part of the company broke up, and turned back for home. The reason of this is, that a parcel of wagons combine and form a company, and before forming, the parties may have been acquainted for but two or three days, and they soon disagree. If possible, companies should be formed of teams who are from the same state or section of country. There are several teams from Dodge county in our company. Hillyer of Wapun and his company are here, and a man from Rubicon arrived here last night. I think his name is McCune. I have had no opportunity of seeing him. P.C. and B. Crangle were at St. Joseph. Thompson and boys of Waterloo will cross the river 20 miles above here. Fitzgerald of the same place, formerly of Johnson’s Creek, is in our company. Ingersoll, who left Watertown some time before we did, we saw in Galena on his way to California. These are all I can now think of who you may know, that are in this section. When an opportunity offers I shall write you again, which will be at Salt Lake probably.

Yours, &c.,

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) May 30, 1849

Fort Laramie image from the Wyoming Photographs website.

Watertown Californians.

During the past week, letters have been received in this village from Messrs. GILMAN, STIMPSON, STECK and GLINES, dated June 19th, at Fort Laramie, the last fort they will pass before reaching California. These letters were more or less blackened and charred by fire, having been recovered, according to a printed endorsement of the Postmaster at St. Louis, “from the wreck of the steamer Algoma, burned at the wharf at St. Louis July 29th — said boat having a large California mail, a large portion of which was entirely consumed.”

From the letter of Mr. GLINES we learn that the Watertown boys still remain in good health and most of them in good spirits, and that their oxen are all in “better heart than when they started from St. Jo.” But other emigrants had been less fortunate, “You cannot imagine,” says Mr. G., “the suffering and distress on this road. Men, women, children and teams are giving out and dying every day. The road is lined with dead oxen and mules.”

For 75 or 80 miles before reaching Fort Laramie, Mr. G. says the roads were “very heavy and sandy, water scarce and bad, and no whisky!” He concludes his letter by saying: “I would never advise any one to take this route for California.”

Judging from the rate at which the company have traveled since leaving Fort Kearney, they will probably reach the ‘diggings,’ if no misfortune befals them, early in September. But the worst part of the route is yet before them, if we have anything like a correct knowledge of the country. The desert portions of it have still to be passed. — Heavy wheeling and scarcity of water, food and fuel, are in reserve for the company. — But stout nerves and a determined spirit can triumph over all these; and the next intelligence we receive from our “boys,” will doubtless be to the effect that they are “feeding in tall clover,” with both pockets rapidly filling with “the rock.”

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Aug 15, 1849

Image from the Fine Books & Collections website.

From California.

We have received from a friend at San Francisco, the Alta California of Aug 2d. It contains the very latest news that has been received in the states, from that point of attraction. We give below a bird’s-eye view of its contents:

Seventeen of the twenty columns of the paper, are devoted to the trial of the persons concerned in the riot mentioned in our last issue. Then follows half a column of placer intelligence, in which new and extensive discoveries of the precious metal are given. Next, a table of immigration during the month of July, the total number being 3,614, of whom 49 were females, and about 3,000 Americans. Next, an account of the arrival of the pioneer overland companies, with news of 5,000 or 6,000 wagons having nearly reached Pleasant Valley. [We hope the Watertown boys may be of the crowd.] — Then, an account of new gold discoveries on Trinity river, 500 miles above San Francisco; the announcement that the dedication of the new Baptist church, “on Washington street,”  will take place the following Sabbath; a journal of the arrival and departure of vessels, as well as a list of the vessels in port; winding up with the San Francisco Price Current for July. We quote the prices of a few articles: Flour $12,00a13,00, Oregon corn 1,50a2,00, mess pork, new, 18,00a22,00, old 14,00a16,00, Am. cheese 37 1/2a42c., Am. butter 75a80, sugar 9a12 1/2, coffee 5 1/2a8 1/2, young hyson tea 27 1/2a45, brandy per gallon 1,00a2,00, gin 1,00a1,10, champagne per doz. 15,00a18,00, whisky per gallon 60a1,00, am. brogans 1.23a1,35, pine lumber 300a350 per M., house frames 1,200a2,500.

A little paragraph at the bottom of a column, states, that “the average passage of vessels which have reached San Francisco from the various Atlantic ports, is 163 days.”

The Alta California is printed on very yellow paper — just for fashion’s sake, we suppose!

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin)Sep 26, 1849

Fort Bridger, Wyoming – 1873 from the Wyoming Photographs website.


Our townsman, ROBERT CRANGLE, has just received a letter from his two brothers, dated at Fort Bridges[r], July 1st. They were in good health, and had no fears of being able to get through. They were about 100 miles from the Mormon city, and 800 from the diggings. They estimate the number of teams in advance of them at 400, and in read at 1200. Of the latter, they think many will not be able to get through, owing to the scarcity of feed.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 3, 1849

The Great Salt Lake Valley

From Salt Lake.

[Correspondence of the Watertown Chronicle.]

July 12, 1849.}

FRIEND H. — When I wrote you last, our train did not expect to take the route to this place, and I placed a letter in the hands of a gentleman who was packing through, and intended to go by the way of the city. When we arrived at the junction of the Fort Hall and Salt Lake trails, our company had not decided which route should be taken, and after debating half an hour on the subject, a part took the Fort Hall road, the remainder taking the road to this place.

It is not known to emigrants that there is a waggon trail from Salt Lake to the gold region, nor were our company aware of it until we were within 80 miles of the lake and very few teams take this route, and those who take it do so with the intention of exchanging their oxen and wagons for pack mules; but we are told that there is a good road from here to Sutter’s Fort, and plenty of grass and water, the distance being about 850 miles through — 600 miles of the road of the best description, when we reach the California mountains, the road over these being hilly and rough for a portion of the distance. We again strike the great trail by Fort Hall 180 or 190 miles from this place.

We reached this place yesterday, at noon, and shall leave Saturday or Monday morning. The distance traveled is 1049 miles, over a very good road, with the exception of the last 40 or 50 miles, where we had to climb two high mountains, both the ascent and descent being very steep and rocky, and I think, rather harder than your Rock river woods’ road at its worse stage.

The “glourious fourth” was spent in a manner rather derogatory to Yankee character. Some of the boys felt like having a little glorification in the morning, and banged their rifles, and hurrahed a little. But it was “no go;” their enthusiasm soon vanished, all saying that the next fourth should have a double dose. We traveled 23 miles that day, a very warm day, and taking a new and different road from that laid down in our guide book, to avoid crossing several streams, were without water for 13 miles, and camped at night within three miles of Fort Bridger.

If there is a beautiful spot on the earth’s face, it is the valley of the Great Salt Lake. The best description of it I can give you is to tell you climb some high mountain and look upon a beautiful lake, and the valley will be pictured to you. It is about 40 miles long, with a width of 22 miles, and is surrounded by high mountains, with the exception of a small space at the north, many of whose summits are capped with snow the year round. The soil is very good, (I have seen much better in Wisconsin,) and the climate delightful; at least it has proved so the short time I have remained here, and I am told it is but a fair specimen of the summer season. The mountain breezes, cooled by the snowy banks which cap their sides and summits, temper the hot air to that deliciousness which makes existence an enjoyment which man can hardly be said to possess in any portion of the eastern world in which I have resided. And this breeze is never idle; its mighty fan is ever in motion. The winters are mild, and but little snow falls. The last winter snow fell to the depth of 20 inches in the valley, and the old trappers and traders say that it was the most severe winter season that has been experienced in this region for the last 16 years.

The great city is regularly laid out in blocks or squares, the streets being very wide, and is most beautifully located, 22 miles from the lake. As yet, nothing very extensive in the way of building has been done, and it presents rather a mean appearance. I do not recollect having seen a house higher than a single story, and very many of them are mere cabins, whose dimensions will not exceed 12 or 16 feet square. They are built of “adobes” (sun-baked, or Spanish brick) and logs. Some of the inhabitants are still living in tents and wagons. There is no timber in the valley, the inhabitants hauling it from the mountains, a distance of from five to twenty miles. They have not yet commenced their great temple, and how soon they will do so, is not yet determined.

It is estimated that there are from 17 to 20,000 people in the valley — Mormons — most of them handling the plough and hoe for a subsistence. Irrigation is resorted to to produce crops. Their crops look very well. Yesterday I saw a man threshing wheat grown this season, but the harvest season will not properly commence for 6 or 8 days yet. Corn does not appear to thrive very well, the nights being too cold and frosty, the air being cooled by the mountains. — Crops of other descriptions appear to do very well, and we are now regaling ourselves upon green peas, beans, turnips, onions, small cabbage, &c. Cattle are very plenty, and will make the fattest beef by merely feeding upon the grasses with which the valley abounds. Six run of stone for grinding purposes, and 7 or 8 saws are in operation in the valley very little can be learned of this singular people, and the most I have been able to learn is, that Brigham Young, their present leader, has 32 wives, and very many of the “sterner sex” having 2, 5 or 6 wives, and others divide their affections among a still greater number of the “gentler ones.”

But what interests the Californians the most, are the gold stories told us. There are a great number of Mormons here who have had practical experience in the mines, and are now shaking the “gold dust” in their pockets. They tell us that gold is plenty in the mountains of California, and is inexhaustible. When a digger could not procure his $100 per day, he was off for a new prospect, and many men would find $200, $500 and some $1000 per day. Then why did you not stay and dig for a while? we ask them. The reply is that, “the church called them home, and they must return.” — And why not get leave to go again? “We are in no hurry, the gold will hold out, many richer deposits will be found, a great number of our brethren have already gone out, and we are required to stay at home to attend the crops, &c.” So much for so much.

It is said that gold has been found on “Goose creek,” 200 miles from here, on our route to California. I have seen several specimens of the dust. It is in thin, flat, small scales, presenting a dark appearance. The Mormons have established a mint here, and will commence coining gold in a few days. A few pieces have already been struck off. The device is the “Masonic Grip,” the value of the piece, the words, “God and Liberty,” and date, and words, “City of the Great Salt Lake,” are found upon its sides. They will coin $20, $10, $5 and $2.50 pieces. They have sent a representative to Washington to advocate their interests. He left a few days since.

I have not heard from the other company of Watertown Californians, and do not expect to until I reach the golden world. I have made the acquaintance of Mr. Stephens, of Fort Atkinson. He tells me he traveled tow days in company with Charley Bristol, of Beaver Dam. Lieut. Wright was two or three hours ahead of us at the junction. He goes by the way of Fort Hall. Jacob Rapalje, of Milwaukee, died here about a week since, of mountain fever. He had good attention from the Mormons. Dr. Evans, also of Milwaukee, I think, will go no further. It is said he will join the Mormons, and be baptised next Sunday. My two Watertown companions, McClusky and Phil. Johnson, have both had mountain fever, but are now quite recovered. This is a queer disease. A man is taken with vomiting, followed by a terribly severe headache and high fever, which are not usually worked off under four or five days. It is not considered dangerous.

We expect to reach the end of our journey in 45 or 50 days. But there is one thing, the emigration on the Fort Hall route will suffer terribly. There were only 12 or 14 wagons ahead of us on the great trail, and we had hard times to get enough feed for our cattle, and there were 6000 wagons yet to get through.

Yours truly,
A letter from Mr. P.C. CRANGLE, dated at Salt Lake city on the 8th July, was received by his brother ROBERT, of this village, last week. He speaks in high terms of the city, and says the temple was about to be commenced. An accompanying brother, BERNARD, was offered $5 per day and board, as a carpenter, but refused, preferring his chances at the mines.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 10, 1849

Letter from the Gold Diggins.

[Correspondence of the Watertown Chronicle.]

September 7, 1859.}

FRIEND H. — The journey is ended. The goal(d) is won — for the gold stories are no humbug, though many of them are much exaggerated. August 31st we arrived at the first “diggings,” and September 3d, reached this city, which is situated at the junction of the American river with the Sacramento, 2 miles west of Sutter’s Fort, and 200 miles from San Francisco. Its streets are regularly laid out, crossing each other at right angles, and buildings of every description are now erected, though two thirds of them are nothing but a slight frame work, over which is stretched a covering of common cotton cloth. These buildings answer every required purpose during the dry season, but when the rains commence, something more substantial will be required. There are many buildings of wood erected or in the course of erection, but the scarcity and high price of lumber prevent many from building.

The population of the city, it would be hard to determine. It may be 5,000 or it may be 25,000. Hundreds arrive and leave daily. Provisions are plenty and cheap. I will give the prices of leading articles: Flour per 100lbs. $3a9; pork per bbl. $10; sugar per 100lbs. $14a18; coffee per 100lbs. $.14a18; mackerel and salmon, (salted,) per lb.25c.; beef, (fresh,) per lb. 25c.; hay $6 per 100.

These are the principal articles purchased and consequently very high. Potatoes $1 per pound, onions $1.50 per pound. A small squash is sold for $5. Green peas and a few other vegetables may be had, but at such prices that will stagger even a gold digger. Journeymen mechanics receive $10 per day and board. $32 is charged for setting a set of wagon tires, and $24 for new shoeing a horse. Common laborers receive $10 per day. Clothing may be bought at prices as low or lower than are paid in New York city. The immense quantities of provisions, clothing and other merchandise sent to this market have completely glutted it, and the only ones who will have cause to curse California will be speculators in your eastern cities.

Vessels arrive here almost daily from Atlantic ports and San Francisco, loaded with provisions and merchandise, and no fears need be entertained of a scarcity for a year hence.

A more stirring, go-ahead city than the one I write from, does not exist on the face of the globe. Business of every description is carried on, and with that celerity and despatch that could not fail to please the most driving. “Time is money;” but I never saw the adage carried out with its greatest force until I reached California.

The gold mines, if we may judge by the quantities brought in and the stories of the miners, are inexhaustible. $16 per day is paid to laborers at the mines, and the man who WORKS for himself will make much more. — Some days he may make nothing, others an ounce, or two, or three; and then he will strike a good “pocket,” and dig a thousand dollars or more in a month, and sometimes in a less time. The mines cover a large surface, extending as far as now discovered 300 miles north and south, and 50 or 60 miles east and west. The much boasted climate of California has not sustained its reputation very well. The nights are very cold, and so are the mornings and evenings, while between the hours of 9 A.M. and 4 P.M. the sun pours down with scorching intensity. Water which we use, is hardly fit the name, being warm and filled with filth. Very many are sick; the prevailing disease being a fever in most cases brought on by eating to excess and drinking intoxicating liquors. But I should think that if proper care is used by emigrants and unacclimated persons, that California may be called a healthy country.

I can hear nothing of the other Watertown boys. McClusky left us at Salt Lake, and packed through. I can learn nothing of him. I. and C.P. Crangle arrived on the 5th. — I saw them yesterday. The Fort Atkinson boys are all here and are well. I shall leave for the mines to-morrow, and intend to go up the Sacramento 160 or 200 miles, where the diggings are represented to be very rich. When I arrive there, I will endeavor to find time during the evenings to give you something of an account of our journey across the country, and California prospects and doings.

Truly yours,

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Dec 5, 1849

Wisconsin – An Acrostic

February 10, 2011



W ild and romantic are they boundless woods,
I n nature’s loveliness thy prairies bloom;
S weet are thy lonely glens and solitudes;
C heerful thy villages, and free from gloom.
O ‘er thy fair realm the plagues that feed the tomb,
N e’er sweep destructive. Every wayward breeze,
S oft as lnd’s zephyrs laden with perfume,
I nto thy humblest homes wafts health and peace.
N ature’s chief favorites; gifts of heaven’s best grace.

Rock River Pilot (Watertown, Wisconsin) May 17, 1848

The Birth of Wau-Kau and Why the Menominee Tribe Couldn’t Stay

February 5, 2011

Rootsweb hosts, the “Menominee Land and People” page, which is where the Menominee images in this post can be found.

NOTE: I left the misspellings/typos as found in the newspaper articles.


The proceedings of the public meeting lately held at Wau-Kau, on the subject of the removal of the Monominees, will appear in our next, as also a description of the village of Wau-Kau.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Mar 15, 1848

The Menomonees.

At a meeting held at Wau-Kau, Feb. 15, 1848, to consider our relations with the Menomonee Tribe, L.M. PARSONS, E.D. HALL and S.M. WHITE were appointed to report resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting.

At a subsequent meeting, the committee made the following report, which was adopted and ordered to be published:

The committee instructed to draft resolutions relative to the Menomonee Tribe of Indians, desire to preface the resolutions which they propose for adoption, with the views they entertain of the relations existing between the red and white man, and the fundamental law upon which they are based.

Your committee believe that the rights of man are vested in his necessities; that whatever is necessary for the moral elevation of a people, they have a right to possess and enjoy; and that all laws, common or conventional, which contravene this principle, are null and void and of no binding force. Fro when there is no necessity, no good to be secured, there is no law. To secure harmony of action, define the limits of existing necessities, and discover those which are essential to progress, conventional bodies are essential to proclaim the law, but their commands have no power where necessity does not justify the action.

No body of men were ever legitimately authorized to make laws. The statutes were enacted in heaven; man has no right to add to or diminish therefrom. It is the business of man to discover, enforce and obey them, instead of enacting his own will.

The earth is dedicated to goodness, and the means essential to its attainment are the laws of all beings capable of participating the Deific enterprise. Existing states of mind seem to indicate three classes of necessities. The arrangement of means to promote discoveries, adapting the present to the future, belongs to the 3d class.

Now it is obvious, that all the means should not be limited to either class of enjoyments; that it is usurption, monopoly in the highest degree, for a people devoted to the first class of necessities, to withhold the means essential to the higher demands of intellectual life. Progression is the order of heaven, of the earth, of matter, of mind. A nation to stand still must perish; the world will pass by her. Progress is the accouching spirit of man’s immortality.

Nations as well as individuals, who will not progress, aspire to the glories of intellectual life, to the model of Deific excellence, must perish. God hath so willed it. Man must eat, incur responsibilities of a higher character — responsibilities which urge him onward from the desert of organic impulse, to the pleasure of intellectual life; from the locality of the finite to the universality of the infinite.

The possession of land is essential to every class of enjoyments. Neither individuals, tribes nor nations, have any right to it, except as they make it the means of elevation and progression. The right to possess in the dowery of heaven. Man cannot claim an endowment before his marriage to husbandry; he must write his title deed with the hoe and seal it with the spade. Science must acknowledge its execution, and the arts admit its registry. In such a title, God hath established man’s physical salvation, and like the waters of life, he hath made it free to every one who will perfect his title thereto.

The earth is sacred to the high purposes of Deity, to all that is excellent, to intellectual life. Land being the gift of God, is above all price — sacred to use and not to monopoly — sacred to life, to freedom, to independence, and to posterity. In the service of cultivating and ornamenting the earth, man enjoys the highest pleasure of physical life. But he who performs this service impelled by the love of the excellent and the intellectual redemption of man, enjoys more; a pleasure scarcely less than that of creating.

The Menomonee Tribe have not made sure title to the land they occupy. From the beginning, they have stood still; they would neither cultivate nor ornament the land; they would not enter into the plans of the Deity — make the present better than the past. The social world has gone by them. It has built temples too high for their perceptions — altars too broad for their devotion. IT claims an interest in a sacrifice too sublime for them to appreciate, and ultimate blessings which have no form in their visions of the future. They worship other gods, moddle their mind after inferior objects, fashion their heaven after the waste places of the earth, and measure its joys by the pleasure of the chase. The dog is their boon companion in life; they mingle spirits in death and hope for a common immorality.

The presence of such a people on our borders, hinders the progress of civilization, and deranges every department of business. Both suffering a loss of which affords no prospect of ultimate advantage to either, for the good of the white man is evil to the red, and the good of the red man is evil to the white. The contact is ruinous to both. Man, without knowledge, cannot participate in these gatherings. Knowledge is the life of the mind, its exciting element, but death to the body when made tributary to the excitement of the senses.

And ignorant man could not live in the garden of Eden. All men who will not avail themselves of the councils of science, must be driven from its presence. God hath so willed it. As it was in the days of Adam, so it is in our day. All men fall in the scale of being, degenerate and must ultimately become exterminated, as nations, tribes or clans who will not build themselves up by educational influences.

In all these matters, the Menomonee stands condemned. He invokes the penalties of ignorance; the law of progress commands them to hide away from the light of science, to turn away from the pleasant paths of art, to be driven from the pleasures of Eden — from the tree of knowledge, that the Lord at this coming may not see the day they have sacrificed, nor smell the incence of their altars; lest goodness and truth in their beauty and excellence be hindered in their progress over the earth.


Resolved, That this meeting regard it the imperative duty of every lover of man, every one who desires his moral elevation, his restoration to an equal heritage in the gifts of God; every one who hates monopoly and its kindred slavery, to raise his voice against the high handed usurption of he Menomonee Tribe, in withholding their lands from culture and consequent aid in perfecting the intellectual redemption of man.

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to circulate petitions, addressed to the President, urging him to conclude a treaty with said tribe, with as little delay as circumstances will admit.

Resolved, That our friends and the friends of land culture and equal distribution, be solicited to co-operate with us in this matter.

Other resolutions omitted.



Watertown Chronicle — Mar 22, 1848

Wau-Kau, Winebago Co.

At a meeting held at Wau-Kau, on the 20th of February, 1848, L.M. PARSONS was appointed a committee to prepare a description of our place for publication. At a subsequent meeting, the following report was presents, adopted and directed to be published in the Watertown Chronicle, and such other papers as may please to copy the same.




Location — On the outlet of Rush Lake, 2 1/2 miles north of said lake, 2 1/2 south of Fox River, 12 west of Oshkosh, 10 east of Strong’s Landing and 14 north of Ceresco.

Settlement — Commenced March 7, 1846. Nearest neighbor was then 10 miles distant. The country is now well settled by eastern people.

Water Power — The stream falls 70 feet in two miles, so that the water can be used over six times. The greatest head at any one piece is 23 feet, designed for a grist mill. The stone, timber, &c., are now on the ground for that purpose, and the race partly dug. A saw mill is now in operation, doing a good business. There is a dam at the lake, which retains all surplus water for future use. The lowest measure of water was last November. There was then only 288 inches issuing from the lake, measured in a current having a decent of 4 inches in 16 feet. There is now an issue from the fame floom of 720 inches, when the gait is up. The area of the lake is over 12 square miles.

Advantages — No other water power within 14 miles; proximity to the different varieties of timber, (contracts having been made for the delivery of pine logs, &c.;) proximity to navigable waters; in the heart of a rich farming country, already settled with an enterprising people.

Society — Our village population numbers 140 souls; have a good school, regular religious meetings, temperance society embracing nearly all the people, a well attended debating club, Sunday school, &c. The religious meetings and schools are under the immediate charge of Elder Manning, who is doing much towards making our place what every good citizen would wish it to be.

Health — We have two physicians, but very little for them to do.

Artists — Shoe shop, (two workmen,) blacksmith shop, (two fires,) cabinet shop, (two workmen,) one tailor shop, one turning shop, one wagon maker, five carpenters and joiners; and a sash factory and tannery are about being erected.

Merchants — One store, (Messrs. Elliott & White,) doing a fine business.

Position– Our place is elevated and dry. Banks of the stream about 80 feet high. On the one side, forest timber; and on the other, light openings.

Population — 140 souls.
Early Days of Wau-Kau.

[Correspondence of the Watertown Chronicle.]

WAU-KAU, March, 8, 1848.

On the first day of April, 1846, myself with several other pioneers, (as we termed ourselves,) by dint of presevarnce and a sprinkling of moral caurage, displayed in following sundry Indian trails, and in some instances no trails at all, made the best of our straggling way into what seemed, as it truly was, an unbroken wilderness. We arrived at last, after fording streams and forcing through bush tickets, which nearly left our [seeing sense] minus, about 9 in the evening — right glad to find a place where civilization had a home, having traveled all day with only one or two in the shape of white men to guess with us the locality of our place, our direction to find it, or distance to the same.

The Pioneer Hotel, under the supervision of Mr. Parsons, the proprietor, gave us welcome, and we received at the hands of his numerous tenants a well relished supper served up in Badger style — to which our keen appetite did ample justice. After relating the adventures of the day to others who, like ourselves, had quartered themselves here for the night, our whole company consisting of eight, thought best thus early to seek our needful repose. Our kind landlord soon relieved our curiosity, naturally excited as to the whereabouts of our night’s berth, located as we were in a native cabin a little more than 7 by 9, with room for only one bed to accommodate the whole. Our plan of camping was a singular one, but if any of your readers should ever find himself in a similar condition, it may be of service to him. Two bedsteads were placed side by side, and the beds thrown on. We then placed ourselves in as compact position as possible, with a tier of heads on the outside all round, our feet lapping by so as to come in pretty close contact with our neighbors faces. In this manner we spent the night and if, when we arose in the morning, we were fortunate enough to get our own legs to stand on, instead of our neighbor’s, we considered it, at least in the confusion a lucky escape.

But WAU-KAU has since undergone a great change, as the statistics of the place, which have been furnished you, will prove. Come friend Hadley, and take a stroll with us, where, a year ago, was the silent wilderness, listen to the woodman’s ax, witness the signs of improvement in every direction; and if you do not call our portion of the country a second Eden, you will be constrained to call it, with us, “a little better than the best” of the new towns of the West.

Truly, W.

Watertown Chronicle — Mar 22, 1848

The Whigs of Winnebago county have nominated Mr. URIAH HALL, of Waukau, for the Assembly. Mr. H. is a good and strong man.

Watertown Chronicle — May 3, 1848

THE MENOMONEES — From a long article furnished by our valued Waukau correspondent, we copy the following paragraphs, showing the power of the ancient Menomonees. The crowded state of our columns, will not admit of the publication of the entire article.

“The Menomonee tribe of Indians occupy the country west of Wolf and north of Fox River. They number about 2,400 souls. They are paid about $8 00 per head each by government, for lands sold several years ago. They were formerly a very numerous and warlike people, made war a trade for many years, and became a terror to the neighboring tribes. It is said they conquered in one night the Winnebago, Fox and Saux tribes, by a most adroit stratagem and deadly strife. The hills of

“Little and Big Butte des Most,” or hill of the dead, are records which tell of their might in battle and gathered honors of war. Their prisoners they retained as slaves. More than a century and a half ago, they attained the elevated position of slaveholders, and established that law requiring the weak to serve the strong, to which civilized nations have added the sanctions of religion.  But when the Catholic fathers came among them, and told them that the Great Spirit “made all men free and independent,” they repented of the evil they had done, and told their slaves that they too were children of the Great Spirit, and thereafter should be free to enjoy his blessings.

“Before their knowledge of the whites, their living was the luxuries of nature. They reveled in Eden’t garden. None knew the tree of knowledge, and of course none fell by eating of its fruit. Of he simple provisions of nature they ate, and life and pleasure sprang up in all the fullness of being. But the white man visited them, and now they are but dust in that balance which once weighed down all the tribes east of the father of rivers.”

Watertown Chronicle – May 31, 1848

A new postoffice has been established at Waukau, Winnebago Co., and Wm. H. Elliott appointed postmaster.

Rock River Pilot (Watertown, WI) Aug 16, 1848

Image of Waukau Creek  posted by Linda F. on Pbase.


A correspondent writing from Waukau, makes the following statement:

There are three wells near this place, discharging fine little rivulets from their surface. They measure 23, 30, and 54 feet in depth; soil red marl. You will hardly believe me when I tell you these wells discharge double the quantity of water when the wind is south that they do when the wind is north; still the whole neighborhood will testify to the fact. The water in other wells in the vicinity will rise a foot on the wind blowing a good breeze from the south. I have not sufficiently examined the subject to solve the mistery. But as Rush Lake is within three miles and on high ground, it is propable the source from which the well are supplied, and a south wind driving upon the coarse sands of the beach increases the discharge of water thro’ the sand into channels which find vent in those wells. — Wash. Co. Eagle.

Rock River Pilot – Aug 23, 1848

“Wisconsin Gristmill” by Burton Boundey – Clars Auction Gallery website


The grist mill at Waukau has finally been put in motion. It will prove a great convenience to the people of the region.

Watertown Chronicle – Aug 14, 1850

Political Fruit

January 26, 2011

Image from Elektratig.

“The Fruit.”

After a year and a half of Locofoco rule, the people of this state can begin to judge the “tree” by the “fruit” it bears. The Madison Express thus classifies it:

State credit is thirty per cent, below par!

The state debt is nearly fifty thousand dollars!

The state tax is so levied as to raise one hundred thousand dollars!

Such a thing as public faith is unknown!

The state has repudiated its solemn contracts!

It has repudiated its own paper, refusing to allow county treasurers to receive it in payment of taxes!

The constitution has been repeatedly trampled upon — oaths of office violated, and laws discarded!

Is it not time for honest men of all parties to “awake and save the state?” What reliance have the people for the future? What guarantee against further outrage?

Honest voters of all parties! to the polls!

Let your votes speak in thunder tones in rebuke of the present foul and corrupt dynasty!

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 24, 1849

Image from Son of the South.

Locofoco Defalcations.

While the Locofocos are assailing Gen. Taylor and the Whig party so bitterly, it may be well enough to remind them of their own delinquencies occasionally, in times past as well as present, by referring to the history of their corrupt practices, and to refresh the recollections of the people upon these matters, that they may see with what grace the president can be arraigned for fraud by such men. For this purpose we publish below a partial list of moneys stolen in the pure days of the “Democracy” by Locofoco office holders. We are not able to do our sanctimonious and censorious friends justice, as we have not a complete list of these public robbers, nor of the amount stolen. But we have enough to show the public with what indecent presumption, charges against Gen. Taylor and the Whig party, come from a party whose chosen agents have been guilty of such enormities as the following array of names and figures are “premonitory symptoms” of:

This amount, “respectable” as it is, does not include the sums stolen by Harris and Boyd, a couple of gentlemen who carried operations on as large a scale as any of their colleagues in rascality. But the pretty little sum of THREE MILLIONS ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS will answer the object we have view, so far as the old Locofoco plunders are concerned. The annexed list will show that Locofocoism now is just what it was ten or twelve years ago. If they had stopped their peculations upon the public treasury after having abstracted these three millions of dollars and upwards, they would have given some evidence of a disposition to reform; and we would not have been disposed to “invade the sanctity of private life,” — as old father Ritchie styles these references to Locofoco defaulters — be calling public attention to them. But when we see them at their old game again, and witness their furious personal attacks upon one of the purest minded men that ever filled the presidential chair, we cannot help holding the mirror up to their faces, that they may “see themselves as others see them.” We will now annex their recent “financial operations,” in the way of leg treasuryism. All will admit that they bid fair to do honor to their illustrious predecessors.

But it is said that there is yet in the hands of Locofoco ex-land officers, not yet accounted for, nearly a MILLION OF DOLLARS belonging to the government. This may all be honestly paid over, or it may all or one half be stolen. Time only will determine which. At any rate, the people have been robbed of nearly or quite HALF A MILLION DOLLARS, under the beautiful operations of the sub treasury law. If six months have brought to light that large sum, it can easily be ciphered out what four years will reveal. According to our arithmetic, it cannot be less than four millions of dollars.

But we will wait awhile and see.

[Auburn Daily Adv.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 10, 1849

Image from Legends of America.

Illinois — Locofoco “Fruits.”

Thus speaks the Chicago Democrat, the editor of which, “Long JOHN WENTWORTH,” a “Democratic” member of congress, will be taken as good authority in the premises:

“Our state is bankrupt. As to her principal, she makes no pretensions. She cannot, even, pay her interest. And the larger the state, the greater the resources, the more numerous her population, the greater her disgrace in not paying her state debts.”

With the exception of a year or two, Illinois has been under the control of the “Democratic” party from the time of its origination as a state, and, for its population, has usually given that party a stronger vote than any other western state. There, Locofocoism has had full, undisputed sway. With barely sufficient opposition to keep the party together, it has gone on from one destructive measure to another, until now, according to the confession of one of its “sachems,” the state is not only bankrupt, but is even unable to pay the interest of her indebtedness! And this, too, while she possesses a soil and climate equal to any in the world, an industrious agricultural population, and natural and artificial commercial advantages superior to most of the other western states!

What is it that has inflicted so severe a curse upon our sister state, and already made her a “by-word and a reproach?” There can be but one answer — UNCONTROLLED LOCOFOCO LEGISLATION! Locofocoism is the gangrene which has been for years eating to her very vitals. And so long as she remains the patient of “quack doctors,” so long will the disease continue to grow worse and worse. Her only salvation depends upon the use of the great Whig specific. Where is there to be found a Whig state with a bankrupt treasury? Where one which does not “flourish as a green bay tree?”

The same causes which have worked so much mischief in Illinois are producing like efforts in Wisconsin. Already has our expenditures greatly and unnecessarily increased, our taxes doubled, our treasury plundered, our legislative sessions uselessly protracted, our constitution trampled under foot, our public interests trifled with, our good name tarnished, and our growth and development as a state seriously retarded. Is it not time for our people to pause and reflect? Why will they longer jeopard everything essential to the real interests of the state, for the mere honor of placing political impostors in power?

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 10, 1849

The Grand Review in ’65 and ’92

November 10, 2010


Largest Demonstration ever made by the Organization.

Grand Army week at Washington opened fair and the weather generally was pleasant during the national Encampment. All day and night of Monday the streets were alive with marching men, G.A.R. posts and their friends, on their way from railroad stations to quarters. Despite all the exertions that the railroad companies made to handle the crowds promptly, the visitors were from two to twelve hours late in reaching the city; but as rapidly as possible the trains were rolling into the city and unloading their human freight. The passengers accepted the situation with the best possible grace, and whatever the measure of their discontent it was all dissipated upon arriving at the Capitol, as they looked upon the generous and artistic manifestations of welcome and found themselves surrounded with reminiscences of the war and in the society of those whose friendship was knit in the blood and smoke of battle.

Tuesday was the great day of the reunion, with its grand parade, intended to be in commemoration of the grand review of 1865. Fifty thousand Union survivors of the great struggle marched over the identical route taken on that memorable occasion. Thirty thousand other wearers of the Grand Army badge or button, withholding themselves from the procession for various reasons, stood along the curbs or sat upon the stands, cheering their comrades as division by division, platoon by platoon, passed by for nearly seven unbroken hours. Along the two-mile route fully 350,000 persons were gathered to watch the procession. The parade was, with few exceptions, composed of men who were young 30 years ago, but who are now advanced in years. They wore the blue uniforms of the Grand Army, which is neat, but not gaudy, and they marched as old men march. With many it was an effort to cover that long stretch of road-way after waiting several hours to fall into line. Many were suffering from wounds which had never healed; many were broken and bent with rheumatism and other diseased incident to camp life. But what they lacked in grace and movement they made up in spirit and determination, and at every step they were cheered with heartiness which they would have been less than human not to appreciate.

The posts marched in two parallel columns, each of 12 files front, to Fifthteenth street and then the columns united and formed one sold column of 24 files front. At the Treasury Department Vice President Morton reviewed the procession and at the War Department the veterans marched in review before their commander-in-chief, Gen. Palmer.

Illinois had the place of honor in the parade, the State being the parent of the Grand Army of the Republic. Wisconsin came next, followed by Ohio. New York had 10 brigades in line. Massachusetts had 211 posts. New Jersey 70, Maine 15, California 14, Rhode Island 16, New Hampshire 17, Vermont 21, Maryland 49, Iowa 50, Oklahoma 1. The Department of Virginia and North Carolina marched 700 men in line. Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, North and South Dakota and Connecticut made a fine showing. The Pennsylvania department mustered 15,000 strong and was the largest in the long and splendid parade.

Wednesday opened with business sessions of the Grand Army, the Union Veterans’ Union, the Woman’s Relief Corps, the Ladies’ Aid to the S.of V., the Daughters of Veterans, Ladies of the Grand Army and Women’s Relief Union. In the afternoon a consolidated band of 1,500 pieces gave a patriotic concert in the Capitol grounds.

The post with the largest membership in the country naturally attracted much attention, and this was intensified by a mammoth model of the typical industry of the city in which it is located. It is General Lander post of Lynn, Mass., which numbers over 1,200 men. They carried with them an immense shoe, twelve feet long.

Preliminary to the festivities of the week was the dedication of Grand Army Place, located on the famous White Lot just south of the White House grounds.

A striking display was the surprise offered by the Iowa department. They carried in the air 3,000 cornstalks, some of them nearly six inches in diameter, and each man had an ear of corn strapped to his back.

Among the notable arrivals was that of the famous Sixth Massachusetts, the first to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops. En route to Washington they were fired upon in Baltimore, April 19, and spilled the first blood after the assault upon Fort Sumter. Several hundred men were present with the command.

Col. A.G. Weissert, of Wisconsin, was elected National Commander and Indianapolis selected as the place of next year’s reunion.

Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 27, 1892

NOTE: Both Images above are from Wikipedia


The following obituaries all have a common thread. All men were Civil War veterans and all marched in the Grand Review of 1865 in Washington, D.C. Most of them also have some connection to the State of Pennsylvania, with one or two exceptions.

At the bottom of the post, there are two articles about Civil War animal mascots — a dog and a rooster.

Carson Lutz.

Carson Lutz, familiarly known to most people in the Glen Campbell and Burnside sections as “Kit Carson,” passed away in the home of a daughter in Hobart, Ind., Sunday, April 6. Following the services there his body was brought to Glen Campbell, his former home, where funeral services were conducted at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon in the Baptist Church, conducted by the Rev. Mr. Marks. Interment was made in Burnside Cemetery, alongside of his wife and daughter, who preceded him to the grave several years ago. It was a military funeral, conducted by members of the American Legion of Glen Campbell, assisted by a firing squad from the American Legion Post of Clearfield.

Carson Lutz was born in Lancaster county, September 5, 1848 and enlisted in Company B, Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers in January, 1864, being honorably discharged July 17, 1865. He was engaged in several battles and was present at Lee’s surrender. He was also proud of having marched with the million soldiers in the grand review at Washington, D.C.

He was one of the pioneers of the northern part of Indiana county and helped to cut and raft a great deal of timber that grew in that section. He sometimes worked as one of the woods crew, but mostly as the camp cook. His reputation as a cook was known to all old woodsmen and in later years he cooked for hunting camps, many of the deer hunters recalling “Kit” and his wonderful meals.

For the past 17 years he had made his home with his two daughters. He leaves the daughters, Mrs. James Judge of Hobart, Ind., and Mrs. C. Fred Brands of Gary, Ind.; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. At the time of his death he was a member of William Ketcham Post, Grand Army of the Republic of Gary, Ind.

Indiana Evening Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Apr 14, 1930

Image from Find-A-Grave (NOTE: previous image has been replaced due to copyright)


Former Head of County Schools Was Well Known Writer.


Took Part in Civil War Playing a Part in the Battle of Gettysburg. Wrote History of Conflict.

Professor J. Howard Wert, well known writer and educator, with many friends in Adams county where he was the superintendent of schools for several years, died Thursday night at his home in Harrisburg after a long illness at an advanced age. He had been seriously ill for some weeks and his death was not unexpected. For years he had been living retired.

Professor J. Howard Wert was born on a farm near Gettysburg, the only child of Adam and Catharine (Houghtelin) Wert. His father, a man of exceptional ability, was a leader among Pennsylvania Abolitionists. His mother, also very gifted, was very conspicuous in the annals of early Methodism in Southern Pennsylvania.

After a preliminary course in the rural public schools and the Gettysburg High School, in all of which he evinced a precocity which made him the marvel of the community, the deceased spent six years at Gettysburg College, graduating in 1861.

While in college, he acquired considerable reputation as a writer; becoming a contributor to nearly all the Boston and New York literary periodicals of that day.

His first serial, “The Mystic League of Three,” a novel in twenty chapters, written while in the Sophomore year, won a prize and was published in Frank Queen’s “New York Clipper.” Having been dramatized, it was produced soon after at one of the Bowery theaters, wit ha run of 4 consecutive nights. It was a story of sporting life in the large cities written at a time that the young author had never seen a larger town than Gettysburg.

In various capacities, Professor Wert saw many of the stirring scenes of the Civil War, including the battle of Gettysburg, where he had exceptional opportunities for observation both during and after the conflict. During the Gettysburg campaign he did considerable service as a scout for which he was well fitted by his intimate knowledge of the whole surrounding country. On the afternoon of the first day of the battle, he was the guide who conducted the head of General Slocum’s 12th corps to the position it subsequently held in Culp’s Hill, after having informed the officers leading the column of the positions which Early’s Confederate corps had gained on the other side of Rock Creek.

Concerning the decisive battle he had written many valuable articles and pamphlets, as well as an extended history, first published in 1886, which had sold extensively on trains and on the field for several years. A second Gettysburg battle history written for a New York syndicate as a souvenir gift to G.A.R. posts in connection with the Semi-Centennial celebration of 1913, and published from the plant of the Harrisburg Telegraph was characterized by a competent reviewer as “The most vivid pen-portraiture of the great battle ever written, and on of the finest specimens of historic word painting in the English language.”

The close of the war found Professor Wert a lieutenant in Company G, 209th Pennsylvania Volunteers. This regiment served first in Butler’s Army of the James, and then became a part of Hartranft’s celebrated Pennsylvania command, — the Third Division, Ninth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. With it the deceased participated in some of the severest engagements around Richmond and Petersburg including the storming of the latter city; and followed up Lee’s retreating army to the surrender at Appomattox.

He also participated in the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac, May 23, 1865, when, for seven continuous hours, 80,000 veterans, solidly massed from curb to curb, swept down Pennsylvania Avenue, at the nation’s capital, passing before President of the United States and General Grant.

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Mar 13, 1920

161st Indiana Infantry Band

Not the same Indiana Infantry Band – Read more about this one from the Spanish American War HERE


Abram Rummel, one of the oldest and highly esteemed citizens of this place, was found dead Sunday morning in his chair at his home on the east side. He was found by his daughter, Margaret, who having heard him arrange the fire earlier in the day, thought he was sleeping and did not disturb him until the breakfast hour. Evidently he attended the fire and then sat down in his accustomed chair as was his wont to often sleep there rather than lie down owing to heart trouble, and of which he evidently died.

Mr. Rummel was born March 16, 1840, at Creswell, Lancaster county, Pa., the son of Adam and Anna Rummel, and was brought by his parents to this state in 1847. When a young man he joined his brothers Felix and Adam in the wagon making and smith trade at Germantown. While here he joined a local cornet band, which afterward tendered its services to Governor Morton and was assigned to the Twelfth Indiana Infantry as the regimental band and later the brigade band. Of this band Amos Bear of Richmond is the surviving member. After three years service the band was mustered out in 1865 after participating in the “grand review” at Washington. Returning to Germantown, Mr. Rummel was married to the love of his youth, Miss Mary Jane Ocker, who died July 19, 1913. The children are J. Willard Rummel of New Castle, and Mrs. Ida Martin and Miss Margeret Rummel of this city. Oscar Valentine died in 1875. The grandchildren are Miss Lula Martin of this city and Miss Thelma Rummel of New Castle.

In 1865 Mr. Rummel joined Walnut Level lodge of Odd Fellows, which membership he transferred to Wayne lodge when he and his brothers came to this city and engaged in business the same as in Germantown. Two years ago Wayne lodge gave him a veteran’s jewel, having been a member 50 years and financial secretary 20 years. He was also a member of the G.A.R. and M.E. church.

In 1881 Mr. Rummel was elected a town trustee and served five years. For a quarter of a century he was connected with the township assessor’s office, first as deputy and later assessor. In all those offices of honor and trust Mr. Rummel fitted his duty as he saw it. Whether as a soldier, a public servant, a lodge member, or a husband and father, he discharged his duties in that exalted manner that marks the exemplary citizen.

Funeral services were held at the M.E. church Tuesday afternoon by Rev. Jones, the W.R.C. and Odd Fellows. The attendance was large and the floral tributes many and very pretty. Burial in Riverside.

Cambridge City Tribune (Cambridge City, Indiana) Feb 8, 1917

Wisconsin Memorial at Vicksburg

Image from the book, Wisconsin at Vicksburg on Google


Interesting Account of Army Service During Civil War By the Late A.N. Maltby.

A.N. Maltby, who died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. J.N. Welsbey, last Wednesday afternoon, was a Civil war veteran and took part in Sherman’s “March to the Sea” and the Grand Review at Washington. Among the Possessions he left was a brief account of his army record, which is published below and will undoubtedly prove interesting to Gazette readers:

“I enlisted August 7, 1862, at Tomah, Wis. The company was quartered in Sparta and joined the regiment at La Crosse. Was mustered into United States service September 14, 1862, with Co. D, 25th Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.

“The regiment was ordered to Minnesota on October 1 and D company was stationed at Mankato to protect the city from the Indians. In December of that year the regiment was ordered back to Wisconsin and we marched from Mankato to La Crocce. Arrived at Madison Dec. 20, when we all got a ten day furlough.

“In the February following we went south via Chicago and Cairo, Ill., and went int camp at Columbus, Ky., where we stayed until Jun 1, when we went down the Mississippi river to Vicksburg, then up the Yazoo river to Yazoo City, then back to Haynes Bluff, in the rear of Vicksburg, where we were in the siege until the surrender on July 4, 1863. On July 7, I got sick furlough home for 30 days, and rejoined my company and regiment at Helena, Ark., September 1. At this time the 25th had only 57 men fit for duty and 800 men on the company rolls. In February we left Helena and went again to Vicksburg and from that place on the ‘Meridian March’ with Sherman. We were back in Vicksburg at the end of 30 days and then went by steamboat up the Mississippi to Cairo, then up the Ohio and the Tennessee rivers to Mussels Sholes,, then by rail to Decatur, Ala. From there we marched to Chatanooga, Tenn., and on the first of May, 1864, started with General Sherman on the Atlanta campaign.

“At this time the 25th was in the Second Brigade, 4th Division, 16th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee. This division was in the flanking corps and was all the time marching or fighting. Our first battle was at Resaca, May 14, 1864. The company and regiment took part in all the fighting, including the battle of Atlanta, and the chase after General Hood’s Confederates back toward Chattanooga. At Atlanta Co. D lost just one-half of the company in killed, wounded and prisoners. Of the four captured, three were wounded and died in the Andersonville prison, while the fourth was exchanged.

“Before beginning the March to the Sea we were reorganized and our brigade, the 43rd and 63rd Ohio, the 17th New York and the 35th New Jersey was the 2nd Brigade, 7th Division, 17th Army Corps, General Mower Division Commander.

“The March to the Sea began in Nov. 1864, and before Christmas we had taken the city of Savannah, Ga. In January, 1865, we went by transport to Beaufort, S.C., and captured Fort Pokatolligo. On February 1 we began the march for Richmond, Va. Our last battle was at Bentonville, N.C. Was at Raleigh,  N.C., when General Johnson and army surrendered to Sherman. From Raleigh we marched through Richmond and Petersburg to Washington; took part in the Grand Review and was mustered out the 7th day of June, 1865, by reason of the end of the war.

“I was appointed corporal August 27, 1862, at La Crosse, and sergeant October 1, 1863, by M. Montgomery, colonel commanding the regiment. I was in every march, skirmish and battle in which the regiment took part and was in command of the company in its last battle at Bentonville,  N.C. At the time we were mustered out at Washington, D.C., I was offered a brevet captaincy and refused it.”

The Gazette (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Feb 16, 1916

Image from Find-A-Grave for Barney B. Bartow


A Respected Citizen And An Old Soldier Entered Into Rest.

On Tuesday morning about ten o’clock, the life of George Washington Weight, one of Snyder township’s respected citizens, passed into the eternal world. As he was born and raised in this community he was known as an upright, honest man, who always did unto others as he would have them do unto him. He had always been a strong, robust man and used to hard work. Last Friday he caught a heavy cold which developed into pneumonia and on account of his advanced age he was not able to withstand the disease and death ended his sufferings at the above mentioned time.

When the was clouds of the Rebellion hung heavy over our country, he was among the brave boys that went to the front to fight for the flag and country that he loved. He placed his life as a sacrifice on the country’s altar, but was among the fortunate that escaped the ravages of bullets and shell, although the many hardships that he and many of the old veterans experienced was enough to kill any man. He was a member of Company D, 208th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. This regiment was in the Third brigade, Third division and Ninth army corps of the Potomac. He fought at Hatchers Run, in February, 1865, and was in the attack on Fort Stedman, March 25, 1865. He was also in the fight Petersburg and was present when that city surrendered to the Union army. His regiment pursued Lee along South Side railroad to Notaway court house and only halted in their march when the news reached them that the brave southern General had surrendered at Appomotox court house. Comrade Weight participated in all these engagements and was honorably discharged June 1, 1865, at the close of the war, after which he took part in the grand review in Washington. He returned to his home at Ironsville after the war and followed his occupation, that of a knobler, at the Tyrone Forge.

In August, 1858, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Woomer, who preceded him to the grave December 25, 1894. When only a young man Mr. Weight united with the Methodist Epsicopal church, at Ironsville and he always endeavored to live according to its teachings. He was an active member of Colonel D.M. Jones post No. 172, G.A.R., and always delighted to participate in any meetings held by this organization.

George Washington Weight was born near Ironsville, December 11, 1833 and was aged 74 years, 11 months and 13 days at the time of his death. He leave to mourn his demise the following children: Thomas Weight, of Tyrone; Harry Weight, Mrs. Viola Gillman, Mrs. Grove Cox, Sylvester Calvin and Walter, of Ironsville; General Grant, of East Altoona, and Mrs. Katharine Mingle, of Birmingham. Also one brother, Thomas Weight, of Ironsville.

The funeral services will be held in the Methodist Episcopal church at Ironsville, on Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock, conducted by Rev. Gordon Gray, the pastor. The funeral cortege will leave the house promptly at fifteen minutes of two o’clock and proceed to the church. Interment will be made in Grand View cemetery. The services at the grave will be in charge of Col. D.M. Jones post No. 172, G.A.R., of which he was a charter member.

Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, Pennsylvania) Nov 25, 1908

Image from the website: Wisconsin Civil War Battle Flags


Well Known Citizen and Supervisor of the Sixth Ward Passes Away Very Suddenly This Morning.

For nearly four months A.B. Dwinell of this city had been in failing health, and had been confined to his home under the care of a physician for just eight weeks. The first three or four weeks of this time he suffered greatly, but since then had been apparently much improved and was able to rest comfortably most of the time, both day and night, something that he had not been able to do at first. On one or two occasions during the past couple of weeks his condition was considered critical at brief intervals, however, but he soon revived from these spells and was apparently on the road to enjoy better health. While fully realizing that his condition was most serious, and having expressed the opinion that he could not survive, making this remark for the last time yesterday, he was ever cheerful and did not complain, seeming to be ever solicitous for his faithful wife and daughters, who rarely left his side, even for a moment, during the past eight weeks. Last night he retired at about 9:30 o’clock and slept soundly throughout the night. Soon after 6 o’clock this morning Mrs. Dwinell heard her husband cough in a ajoining room, but as this was not unusual, she did not at once arise, getting up a few minutes later, however, and when she approached his bedside, she was horrified to find that her husband had passed away. He was lying peacefully as though in sweet sleep, having his hands folded over his breast and had undoubtedly died without a struggle. His illness and death was due to a compilation of dropsy and heart trouble.

Arunah B. Dwinell was born at Erie, Pa., May 13, 1838, and was therefore in the 70th year of his age. When about 12 years of age his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Luther H. Dwinell, moved to Michigan and after a short stay in that state, came to Fond du Lac and thence to Portage county in 1850, this having been the home of the now deceased ever since. His father died in Stockton in 1870 and is mother in 1878. The son remained on the homestead in the town of Stockton until he enrolled as a soldier in the civil war in September, 1861.

He enlisted at Plover in Co. B., 14th Wis. Infantry. The regiment organized at Fond du Lac, where it remained until March 6, 1862, when it proceeded to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, and after a stay of two weeks went to Savannah, Tenn. Orders were received to join the forces of Grant at Pittsburg Landing, and the regiment in which Mr. Dwinell was serving moved to embark on the transport, but did not arrive on the field until nearly midnight of April 6th, they forming in line of battle at once, notwithstanding heavy rain was falling. They went into action and fought on the second day of the battle, where they acquitted themselves with conspicuous bravery. Mr. Dwinell performed provost duty at Pittsburg Landing until he was taken sick and sent to the hospital at St. Louis, where after two weeks he received a furlough for fifteen days, which was extended, and he reported to Gen. Gaylord at Madison and remained in the hospital there until the fall of 1862, when he received an honorable discharge and returned to Plover. Aug. 21, 1864, he again enlisted, this time in Co. F, 5th Wis. Infantry, in the reorganized command. On the formation of his company he was made orderly sergeant and proceeded with his command to the Army of the Potomac, where he was connected with duty on the Orange & Alexandria R.R., for a brief time. Thereafter he went to the Shenandoah Valley, where the regiment joined the “Independent Battalion,” the remainder of the old 5th, at Winchester. They then went to Cedar Creek, the command being engaged in skirmishing on the right. At the latter place the soldiers were given the privilege of voting, and Mr. Dwinell’s second vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln. December 1st they went to Petersburg, going into winter quarters in front of that city, Mr. Dwinell performing picket duty until Feb. 5, 1865. He was in the fight at Hatcher’s Run and afterwards at Ft. Fisher, and in April in the charge of Petersburg, his knapsack being shot from his back on the morning of the second day of that month and he was slightly wounded in the shoulder in the afternoon. The next day he was in pursuit of Lee and fought on the 7th at Sailor’s Creek, where the entire force of rebels were killed or captured. He also took part in the surrender at Appomatox, after which he went to Danville to the assistance of Sherman, but went back to Wilson Station and thence to Washington, where he was in the Grand Review and was discharged at Madison, June 20, 1865, returning to the village of Plover. December 15, 1861, he was married to Ida E. Morrill, who survives him. They were the parents of nine children, two of whom, Edith died at the age of two years, and Fred J. passed away at Rugby, N.D., four years ago the 16th of June. Those who survive are George L., sheriff of Waukesha county, Arthur J. of Rugby, N.D., Ada B., now Mrs. C.W. Rhodes of Madison, Allie, now Mrs. G.S. Putney of Waukesha. Miss Ethel, who is employed as stenographer for the Wilbor Lumber Co. at Waukesha, Bernice, now Mrs. John C. Miller of Madison, but who is ill in a Chicago hospital, and the Misses Beatrice and Ida E., who are at home, the latter being employed as stenographer in the law offices of McFarland & Murat. He also leaves one brother, C.H. Dwinell of this city, and two sisters, Mrs. Amasa Ball of Idaho and Mrs. Clara Perkins, who resides somewhere in the west.

Mr. Dwinell had resided in this city since 1878 and had served as alderman and supervisor, being elected as supervisor again at the April election. He was a man of far more than ordinary ability, shrewd, sharp and progressive, and he always took an active interest in home, state and national affairs. In politics he was a Democrat for a number of years, but for the past several years had been affiliated with the Republican party. The only organization that he belonged to was the Grand Army Post, being a charter member of the local society.

The time of the funeral has not been fully decided, and will not be until the arrival of his sons and daughters, but will probably not take place until Sunday afternoon. Rev. James Blake of the Baptist church will officiate and the officers of the local Post will not doubt conduct the services at the grave.

The Gazette (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jul 24, 1907

Jack Brutus belonged to the Connecticut military troops during the Spanish-American War.  I couldn’t find a picture of  “Jack,” the Civil War bulldog. More Civil War mascots can be found at the Fort Ward Museum website.

Dog Had Prominent Part in the Civil War

Twice wounded, three time taken prisoner and having fought in a score of battles during the civil war, was part of the interesting career of “Jack,” a bulldog, which accompanied members of the old Niagara fire department when they enlisted and became a part of the One Hundred and Second Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Through the entire war he wore a collar that cost $75, and before he died, several years later, this collar was adorned with several medals, worth several hundred dollars. When he died, this ornament was left around his neck and the body was wrapped in a small American flag before being buried.

Jack accompanied the regiment through the following battles: Yorktown, the battle of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Savage Station, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Marv’s Heights, Mine Run, the Seven Days’ Battle, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Petersburg, the defense of Washington, July 11, 1864, Winchester, Flint Hill, Fisher’s Hill and Middletown.

At the battle of Malvern Hill he was shot through the shoulder and back. At Salem Heights he was captured, held a prisoner and exchanged for a Confederate soldier. During the engagement at Savage Station he was again taken prisoner, but detained only six hours. During the entire war he followed the regiment, and when the army assembled in Washington for the grand review Jack was one of the conspicuous features of the parade. He was taken to one of the northern counties of the state by one of the officers of the regimental association, who kept him until he died.

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) May 21, 1911


When the 16th regiment marched through town, a little white bantam rooster was observed perched on the knapsack of one of the men. We learn that it has an interesting history. It was carried from Madison in 1863 and taken into the ranks of the 32d regiment, which it accompanied through the Mississippi march to Meridian and back to Vicksburg, thence to Decatur, Alabama, and on the march to Atlanta, at whose capture it was present on the grand march through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, to Raleigh. With the 32d it went north to Washington and with it passed in the grand review.

Subsequently it was transferred to the 16th veterans and in now mustered out and on its way home. The little fellow had been carried on the knapsack the entire rounds, and has been in all the battles and skirmishes in which the 32d has participated. — Madison Journal.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Aug 4, 1865