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JUDGE JOHN LAWE,
Who Erected First Saw Mill in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Early Days in Two
By ARTHUR H. LOHMAN
Comprising a Series of Papers Read
before the Manitowoc County Histor-
ical Society, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin,
November, nineteen hundred and seven
Where music of pines blends with roar of the lake,
And foam-crested billows on roughened sands break;
Where suns rise in splendor on Michigan's breast,
And sinks in glory of bright skies to rest: —
Home, home, there's my home;
Ne-sho-tah, my heart's love, wherever I roam.
JOHN NELSON DAVIDSON.
( The Indian Name of Two Rivers is Ne-sho-tah )
MEYER-ROTIER PRINTING CO.
^ Vol 40 i.
^T^HIS little volume is dedicated with the
author's best wishes to his neighbors and
friends, who by their kind co-operation and
encouragement assisted him in gathering such
items as may appear of interest to them and
future students of local history.
Published under the
Auspices of the Congregational Church
of Two Rivers, Wis.
TDELIEVING that the time was near at hand
when the last of that band of pioneers
who came here when the settlement was in
its very infancy would have passed away, the
writer at the solicitation of some of his
friends endeavored, as far as possible, to collect
such facts and incidents from those still living
as might prove interesting and instructive.
The writer feels indebted to those who
so kindly assisted him, and especially to
Mr. G. H. Albee, a pioneer resident of this
city, but now of Neenah, Wisconsin.
Chapter I A Pioneer's Story 9
Chapter II A Glimpse of the Village 13
Chapter III Lumbering and Fishing 16
Chapter IV The Indians 19
Chapter V The Real Beginnings 21
Chapter VI The Tanning Industry 24
Chapter VII The Chair Factory 27
Chapter VIII The Pail Factory 30
Chapter IX The Saw Mills 34
Chapter X Reminiscences 37
Chapter XI The Boys of '61 40
Chapter XII A Memorable 4th 43
Plate 1 Judge John Lawe Frontispiece
Plate 2 H. H. Smith 16
Plate 3 Cyrus Whitcomb 24
Plate 4 J. K. Burns, Thos. Burns & Wm. Honey ... 26
Plate 5 G. H. Albee 36
Plate 6 Joseph Mann, Henry Mann & Leopold Mann . 30
Plate 7 Judge H. S. Pierpont 34
Plate 8 H. C. Hamilton 40
Plate 9 First Frame Building 12
Plate 10 Entire Industries 1858 42
Plate 11 The Old School House 46
Plate 12 Congregational Church Built 1857 20
Early Days in Two Rivers, Wisconsin
A PIONEER'S STORY.
NOW that the old settlers are rapidly passing away, the
events that occurred in the earlier history of this city
will soon be forgotten unless some steps are taken to preserve
some of the more important events that transpired years ago.
What was it that caused these pioneers of the early days
to leave the more civilized centers of the east, and the older
civilization of the old world, to come to this western country,
— an unbroken wilderness — where nature still reigned su-
preme, and the wandering Indians were the only inhabitants?
What inducement in particular did this community hold forth?
Why did the early settlers come to Two Rivers? This is what
particularly interests the descendants of these early settlers
or the student in his researches.
In order to get at some of these facts, and the early his-
tory of Two Rivers, the writer approached Mr. George Hal-
lauer, of this city, who probably enjoys the distinction of being
at the present time one of the oldest and earliest settlers of
this city. Mr. Hallauer — although in his 84th year — bears
his years well, is still hale and hearty, and his recollections
of events closely associated with the early history of Two
Rivers, are vivid and interesting. In speaking of the events
of his life, he began by saying that he was born in Baden,
Germany, March 10th, 1824, and grew to manhood there.
In 1848 he enlisted his services in behalf of the revolu-
tionists in that country under Franz Siegel (who later dis-
10 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
tinguished himself in our Civil War). The defeat of the
revolutionists made it necessary for those having taken part in
it to flee, or take the consequences. He, therefore, decided to
leave his native land at once, and hastily gathering up such
belongings as he could readily carry, together with $200.00 in
cash, started for the port of Antwerp, in July, 1848, where
he embarked for New York on the sailing vessel, Clothilda,
the fare being $100.00 without meals. Each passenger, of
whom there were 250 on board, mostly immigrants, were
obliged to take along enough provisions to last during the
voyage, as well as the necessary cooking utensils, and bedding.
A few days after leaving Antwerp a terrific storm was
encountered, and for a time the ship appeared to be unable
to weather it. The masts were broken off during the gale,
and the passengers were obliged to man the pumps, and assist
the sailors. Fortunately assistance came in time, and they
were towed to Plymouth, England. After waiting five
weeks for repairs, they proceeded to New York, where they
landed after an interval of 105 days since leaving Antwerp.
Allowing for the five weeks, or 35 days spent in Plymouth,
the ocean voyage required 70 days, or over two months. Part
of the time he says they were on short rations owing to the
length of the voyage.
On arriving at New York, he, with a friend by the name
of John Leabinger, met an old friend of Leabinger's by the
name of Charles Eigeldinger, who told them to go West.
He told them of a brother of his who had settled on a farm
near Two Rivers, and who had written him that the country
was ideal, land good and cheap — the price being $1.25 an
acre. Mr. Hallauer and his friand, Mr. Leabinger, having
no relatives in America, no definite location in mind, and no
means except $100.00 in funds between them, decided to take
Mr. Eigeldinger's advice and come to Two Rivers, Wisconsin,
as they thought they could no doubt secure employment of
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 11
some kind and later purchase a farm. Therefore in the fore-
part of December, 1848, they left New York for Albany by
boat on the Hudson River, thence by train to Buffalo, and
steamboat to Milwaukee. After tarrying in Milwaukee four
or five days — which was then a comparatively small place —
they started for Two Rivers on foot, as there was no train
or boat line running up here. Lake navigation had closed,
the boat they came on being the last boat to make Milwaukee
for the season. From Milwaukee to Port Washington a
corduroy road had been constructed through dense woods,
mostly hardwoods. The first day they only traveled about
12 or 15 miles, and stayed over night with a fisherman who
had a small shanty near the lake. Arriving at Port Wash-
ington the next day they were obliged to follow the beach,
as there was no trail or road to take. They reached She-
boygan that night, where there was then a small settlement.
The following day they arrived at Manitowoc, and stopped
with a party by the name of George Dusold.
The trip from Milwaukee to Manitov/oc was uneventful,
he says, except that all streams had to be crossed either by
swimming or wading, and as the month of December was
well advanced, the water was rather chilly. No Indians were
met on the way, although several tribes were still living in
The following day he and his friend made their way to
Two Rivers, and beheld for the first time the locality that
was to be the home of Mr. Hallauer for the balance of his
life. He secured lodgings with Sebastian Boldus, who con-
ducted a hotel on the site where Mr. Jno. Schrade now resides,
on Main Street, and obtained employment at once as a wood
chopper with H. H. Smith & Co.
The above narrative relating the experience of one of the
early settlers here was written up solely for the reason that
the experiences and method of making the journey, impres-
12 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
sions and incidents en route, were a type of what a journey
in those days to this country was, and is typical of what the
first settlers who came from over the seas experienced from
the time they left their native land until they arrived here
and became some of the first settlers.
A GLIMPSE OF THE VILLAGE.
Having found employment here, let us take a look at the
settlement as he found it and remembers it at that time.
An unbroken forest covered the land in all directions.
The two rivers, then as now, after winding through miles of
country, formed a juncture and found a common outlet. It
was at the junction of these two rivers that the settlement
known as Two Rivers had been founded.
The population at that time (1848) probably did not exceed
200 souls all told. On what is now known as the south side
there were no buildings of any kind, with the exception of a
single fish shanty, located on the present site of the Two
Rivers Coal Company docks, inhabited by a fisherman who
was known by the name of John "Sixty."
There were no buildings on the east or French side with
the possible exception of a fish shanty or two at the beach.
The settlement or village really began at the eastern end
of Main Street, and occupied the space between that street
and the river south of Main Street, and extended at the farthest
as far west as the present site of the plant of the Aluminum
Mfg. Co. That portion nearest the river from Main Street
to Washington Street bridge had the most of the population.
Dense forests and underbrush encircled the settlement on all
sides — all of the east, west and north being an unbroken
wilderness. To the north the forests stood in their original
grandeur, beginning about where the Eggers Veneer Works
now are, stretching in a southwesterly direction across the
present site of St. Luke's Catholic Church, and thence follow-
ing a line to the present Monroe Street bridge. Back of this
imaginary line was wild country covered with forests, with
14 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
a few trails that had been blazed through it, and here and there
a solitary settler endeavoring by clearing away the timber and
brush, to establish a farm. Timber being so plentiful and saw
mills so few, little or nothing could be had for the cutting
and hauling of them, and thousands of feet were burned by
the early settlers in order to hasten the clearing. So dense
were the forests here at that time right within what is the
very heart of the city today, that an incident which actually
occurred at that time will prove interesting. Henry Hempke,
a newcomer here, purchased a tract of land one day from
H. H. Smith & Company, for the purpose of building thereon
a home. This tract included the present site of the home of
Joseph Schroeder on the corner of Pine and Jefferson Streets.
Mr. Hempke having been assigned the location by Mr. Smith,
began clearing away the timber at once. Returning to the
settlement after the first day's labor, he set out the second
day to resume clearing, but so dense was the forest and brush,
that notwithstanding his efforts, he was unable to locate the
place he had started to clear the previous day, and he was
therefore obliged to return and have H. H. Smith go with him
a second time to locate the land he had purchased. All this
only a little over 50 years ago.
Most of the buildings were one-story board structures, bet-
ter known as shanties, although there were also a number of
log houses. Among the settlers here at that time were H. H.
Smith, of the firm of H. H. Smith & Co., who conducted a
general store, having in stock such goods as would be apt to
find sale in a frontier community, including a stock of drugs.
This firm also operated a saw mill on a site on the northern
bank of the Neshoto River, a few feet west of Washington
Street bridge. This old mill was a familiar land mark until
destroyed by fire a few years ago. The store was located on
the site of the present premises of the Two Rivers Mercantile
Company. The old store building was later on purchased by
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 15
Carl Saubert and removed to his premises, where it still stands,
and is at present utilized as a saloon and boarding house by
Mr. L. S. House at that time conducted a boarding house
known as the Two Rivers house, on the present site of the
home of Mrs. Urban Niquette. Adolph Lemere had a boarding
house in the old building still standing and owned by the
Lemere estate. This building was the first frame building
erected here. Sebastian Boldus also had a boarding house
on the site now occupied by the residence of F. Kaufman and
John Schrade on Main Street. Mr. Kuehn conducted a small
store on the southwest corner of Jefferson Street and Smith
Avenue. Jos. Fisher did a little tailoring in the building that
stood on the bank of the river at the intersection of Main
and West Water Streets. Others here at that time engaged in
various pursuits were Joseph Gagnon, Oliver Pilon, Oliver
Alonzo, Anton Cayo, Frank Alonzo.
LUMBERING AND FISHING.
Lumbering and fishing were about the only industries here
in the year 1848. The fishing was carried on principally by
J. P. Clarke & Co., a firm having their headquarters at Detroit.
They employed a crew here all the year round and caught all
the fish by seining. These operations extended from here to
about where the Twin River light house now stands. Im-
mense quantities of fish were caught without much effort
as the lake was then teeming with fish, principally white
fish, and it was believed that the supply was inexhaustible.
Sturgeon were so numerous and there being no demand for
them, they were thrown on the beach to die and decay. The
white fish and such others as there was a market for were
salted and packed in barrels and half barrels.
Messrs. J. P. Clarke & Co. owned a number of sailing ves-
sels which made periodical trips here, taking aboard the catch
from time to time and bringing provisions, clothing, etc., for
their help as well as the settlers. This firm also purchased
fish from other fishermen operating along the lake shore. Dur-
ing the winter this firm reduced their crew to 6 or 8 men and
kept them at work repairing nets and making cord wood
along the beach, which was shipped out early in the Spring.
Besides fishing, the only other industry here was lumbering
and at that time there was only one saw mill here owned and
operated by H, H, Smith & Co., who came here in 1847, which
was located on the north bank of the Neshoto River near
Washington Street bridge. Immense tracts of timber were
standing in all directions and consisted principally of pine and
hemlock. Logging operations were carried on quite close to
the settlement; one of the camps being a mile up the Neshoto
H. H. SMITH.
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 17
River and the other about where the tannery bridge crosses
the Mishicott River. The logs were rafted down in Summer
and hauled down on the ice in Winter. Considerable timber
was also being cut down right where the city now is.
There were no piers or harbors here at that time, so that
in order that the lumber could be gotten to the market it was
loaded on scows and towed out into the lake where it was
loaded on vessels. A few years later, about 1850 a pier was
built out into the lake by a firm of H. H. Smith Co., which
was the only pier here until some time later when the firm of
Isaac Taylor & Co. of Racine built a saw mill on the present
site of the Two Rivers Coal docks and constructed a second
pier. They also constructed a bridge at their own expense
across the river there, connecting with Jefferson Street. This
firm began business about the year 1852. The mill was built
and the lands bought by one Isaac Taylor of Racine and
then sold to the Pierpont Co., the new owners comprising
Mr. Wheeler, Mr. H. S. Pierpont of Two Rivers and Mr.
Canfield of Manistee, Mich. Mr. Pierpont was the local man-
ager. The firm was in existence about five years when, the
hard times coming out in 1857 and Mr. Canfield having ex-
tensive interests at Manistee, did not come to the rescue of
his Two Rivers interests, so that the Pierpont Co. failed.
Most of the pine having been cut on the land which they
owned, the firm went out of existence. The machinery was
then moved to Manistee and operated by the firm of Canfield
& Co. together with their other interests there. After the
mill's failure the North pier was purchased by Mr. Nelson
Pendleton and later on purchased by Cooper & Jones, they
being the last owners before its destruction.
There were no schools here up to this time but during the
Summer of 1851 Mrs. Diantha Hamilton, then Miss Diantha
Smith, and a daughter of H. H. Smith, opened a private school
in a house on the site where the residence of W. Ollendorf
18 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, V/ISCONSIN.
now stands. It was attended by about 20 pupils. The popu-
lation of the settlement including the town of Two Rivers in
1850 is given in the first issue of the Manitowoc Herald which
was printed in that year as 924 souls.
Among the first settlers here of course were the Canadian
French who came here attracted by the good fishing and
selected Two Rivers on account of its proximity to the fishing
banks. Then came New Englanders attracted by the natural
resources of the country, and in turn the Germans who came
to work at various vocations or go on farms. Besides these,
people of all other nationalities came but the Germans pre-
dominated and today they or their descendants probably con-
stitute a majority of the residents.
Besides the white settlers here there were still tribes of
Indians who made their homes along the beach and back in
the country on the banks of the Mishicott and Neshoto Rivers.
They subsisted mainly by fishing and hunting ; deer, bear, and
other game being very numerous here. The Indians also
engaged in rendering fish oil for which a market had been
created by the advent of the white man, the work of rendering
the oil, of course, being done by the squaws. They lived in
tents and dressed in such apparel, principally blankets, as
they could readily secure from the settlers. They numbered
from 200 to 300 at that time. Some of the better known In-
dians being "Katoose" or "Quatoose" supposed to have been
120 years old. They were friendly Indians and never molested
the white but paid all of the settlers frequent visits at their
homes where they showed considerable interest in the various
articles brought by them, such as pictures, books, knick
knacks, etc. They were as a rule very fond of whisky and
would beg for it or the necessary funds with which to purchase
it. An Indian cemetery was located at the spot now taken
up by the foot of Main Street, that is, the eastern end of it,
just south of the Lemere property. Somewhat later another
cemetery was laid out at the intersection of Jefferson Street
or about where St. Luke's Catholic Church is now located.
For a time this was also used by the early settlers for their
burial ground but a little later the white settlers laid out a
cemetery just north of the present cemetery and the bodies
of such white settlers as had been buried in the Indian ceme-
tery were removed and reinterred in the new one. That the
sites mentioned are correctly given is corroborated by the
fact that while the workmen were digging sewer trenches
20 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
the remains of three Indians were uncovered at the inter-
section of Jefferson and Pine Streets, and the remains of one
adult Indian were unearthed while the water mains were being
laid on Main Street between Jefferson and the river.
The Indians here at that time were a part of the Pota-
watomie tribe. They were not of a warlike disposition and no
instance is recalled here where any of the white settlers in
this locality were molested by them. They were finally re-
moved by the Government to the Oneida Indian Reservation
in Brown County, but continued to visit this locality for many
years thereafter. In making these periodical trips they visited
some of the earlier settlers with whom they had become ac-
quainted and at the same time their squaws brought along
bead work and work baskets which they sold here. No visits
have been made here for many years past, however.
For years, perhaps centuries, the country along the banks
of the Neshoto and Mishicott as well as the beach between
here and Molarch Creek had been favorite camping sites of
the red man. One of the favorite sites was on the east side
within the present city limits. The grounds here bear mute
testimony to the fact that this was at one time the center of
a large settlement, as the grounds are to this day covered with
thousands of flint chips, which were chipped from flints in
the manufacture of arrow points, spears, knives, etc. In addi-
tion, arrow heads of flint and copper, as well as battle axes,
pottery and trinkets of stone and copper, have been found by
the hundred. Another favorite camp was at the mouth of
Molarch Creek, six miles farther up the beach where innum-
erable evidences of a similar nature have been found, proving
that this also was a favorite camping site of the Indians.
It may also be of interest to mention the fact that the
south side which still retains the name of Mexico Side did not
receive this appellation after the country by that name, but on
account of an Indian Chief by that name. Chief Mexico, who
resided in this neighborhood during the Summer months and
for a time lived on the south side or Mexico Side.
THE REAL BEGINNINGS.
In the previous articles we have tried to set forth the
appearance of the city and its environments as they appeared
in 1848 — 1851. We also gave a list of such of the early set-
tlers as could be recalled by some of the early settlers liv-
But 1848 was not the beginning of Two Rivers. Through
the courtesy of Mr. R. G. Thwaites, secretary of the State
Historical Society, I have been enabled to secure some infor-
mation of the earlier history that is very interesting. In the
Wisconsin Historical Collection, Vol. XI, p. 211, the log book
of H. M. Sloop "Felicity", Pilot Samuel Roberts, under date
of Nov. 4, 1779, speaks of a certain trader named Monsieur
Fay, which is at a place called "Deux Rivers 18 leagues from
Millwakey to the north." This is undoubtedly the earliest
record of any mention made of the present site of Two Rivers
or "Deaux Rivers" as he writes it. This Monsieur Fay was no
doubt one of the early traders who ventured in these parts and
by friendly intercourse managed to make advantageous bar-
gains. Two Rivers owing to its two rivers always was a
favorite camping ground for the Indians as the fishing and
hunting here were no doubt the finest in this section.
Nothing looking towards settling or developing the re-
sources of this place seems to have been done until about the
year 1835. The first entry of land made covering the present
site of Two Rivers was made Sept. 10, 1835, by Daniel
Wells, Jr., S. W. Beal and Morgan L. Martin. No doubt
traders and missionaries made their regular visits here and
it is not unlikely that some fishing was done in the lakes at
this point before this, but we have no records of the facts. In
22 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
the Summer of 1836, however. Judge John La we and Robert
M. Eberts of Green Bay came here and purchased a large
section of timber land embracing about all the land on which
the city is now located. They immediately erected a small
saw mill on the north side of the Neshoto River, west of
Washington Street bridge. This was the original of the old
saw mill which stood on the site until destroyed by fire a
few years ago.
The mill was put into operation at onpe under the manage-
ment of Oliver Longrine who is supposed to have been the
first permanent white settler of Two Rivers. This then marks
the real beginning of Two Rivers. With the advent of the
saw mill the first permanent settlers began to come in. This
Robert M. Eberts, by the way, is the person to whom the
citizens are indebted to for the public square. He donated
this to the city for a public square or market place, and for a
time it was used here as such. He also donated the site on
which the Catholic Church now stands.
In 1837 the great panic paralyzed the industries here to
such an extent that the county was almost depopulated, only
one mill in the county remaining in operation, but in a few
years business again resumed normal conditions.
A poll list of the voters for an election which occurred Dec.
14, 1839, gives the following list of qualified voters:
Robert M. Eberts, Joseph Edwards,
John Lynn, Peter AlUe,
John E. Shepard, James Young,
Alexander Gasgo, Alexander Bovrardy,
Alexander Richardson, Brigham Vansaw,
Alfred Woods, Samuel C. Chase.
The original certified copy of this poll list has been pre-
served and is now in possession of the Joseph Mann Library
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 23
During the Summer of 1840 Andrew J. Vieau of Green
Bay began buying and handling lumber manufactured at Two
Rivers. In the Fall Vieau came to Two Rivers and took pos-
session of John Law's old mill. He operated this mill until
1847 when he sold it to H. H. Smith who later on became
identified with many of the city's earlier enterprises and was
instrumental more than any other man in making the settle-
ment a permanent one by securing and fostering other indus-
tries through which the permanency of the city was estab-
lished. In 1846-47 Vieau was the postmaster here and Oscar
Burdicke carried the mail between Manitowoc and Two Rivers,
his compensation being the net revenue of the route.
Tracing the order of development and settlement, we might
say, that it began with the trading of Indians for furs, followed
by fishing with the two rivers as a natural location for a port
of entry. Then came the saw mills with the logging opera-
tions and the shipping of the lumber in the rough to the
more settled section of the country.
As the forests gave up their wealth of timber, it was only
natural to expect that some one would see the vast amount
of hemlock and tamarack that grew here which, having no
value as lumber, still was valuable for its bark, provided a
market for the bark could be had. And so it came to pass
that the first of the manufacturing institutions in the shape
of a tannery which took the raw material and turned out the
finished product came to be located here to take advantage
of the inexhaustible supply of bark.
THE TANNING INDUSTRY.
It was in the Winter of 1851 that Cyrus Whitcomb came
to Two Rivers to begin the erection of the tannery to become
known as the Wisconsin Leather Co., the members of the
firm being Cyrus Whitcomb, Rufus Allen, St., and Geo. W.
Allen. Mr. Whitcomb was the only member of the firm who
made his home here and in the years that followed became
well known and liked by the many men in his employ.
The building of the tannery was begun at once on a site
1% miles north of Two Rivers settlement, the timber for the
frames being hewn right in the forest at hand. The lumber
was brought by boat up the rivers, there being no road until
a year later. The brick was brought by vessel from Mil-
waukee and many of the men were brought from the East,
where some of the members of the firm had been operating
a tannery at Cazenovia, Madison Co., N. Y. The first tannery
built was located on the east bank of the Mishicott River, just
east of the present tannery bridge and its location was marked
for years by a tall square brick chimney, a monument to a
departed industry long after the old tannery had been dis-
About 100 men were employed. The Company bought
about 1,200 acres of Government land which was covered with
a growth of hemlock for 50c. per acre and the bark was peeled
from the trees within a stone's throw of the tannery. The
hides were brought from Chicago and Milwaukee by boat.
Mixed grades of leather were made, including harness leather,
sole leather, etc. The machinery for the original plant came
from Milwaukee, the engine being of 80 H. P.
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 25
As soon as operations began at the tannery it became
necessary to provide quarters for some of the help although
a good proportion of them always lived down the river at
the settlement or village of Two Rivers. Still it was advis-
able to build houses and provide for those wishing to live near
the plant, and accordingly seven large homes were built and
also a boarding house for 40 hands. A provision store was also
started as well as a blacksmith shop and stables for the horses
were built. A school was started here in the wing of a shanty
attached to a boarding house in the Winter of 1851-1852.
During the Summer months the leather was shipped out
by boat which stopped at the piers twice every week, but dur-
ing the Winter months the leather was hauled by team to
Milwaukee. It took exactly a week to make the round trip
and just so many miles had to be made each day or the
trip could not be made on time. Usually the trip was begun
here at 6 o'clock on Monday morning. The first day took
the leather a little distance beyond Sheboygan where a stop-
ping place was arranged for. The second day, Tuesday,
brought them to Port Washington, then a small settlement
and on the third day, Wednesday afternoon, at about 4 o'clock,
if there had been no mishap, the teams arrived at the Com-
pany's warehouse in Milwaukee and immediately loaded with
hides and provisions, for the return trip, leaving early Thurs-
day morning and arriving at the tannery on Saturday after-
noon. In 1861 a second tannery was built south of the first
one and for a time both were operated. Later on the first plant
was torn down and the second one operated alone until 1887
when the supply of bark being exhausted, it was deemed ad-
visable to close the plant. In 1891 it accidentally caught fire
and was burned down. All that now marks the sight of this
early industry is the large quantity of spent bark covering
acres of ground on which little or no vegetation grows. The
neighborhood also still goes by the name of "The Tannery."
26 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
The Wisconsin Leather Co. was also the fore-runner of
two other tanneries, that later came here. The first of the
newcomers being Carl Winkelmiller who started a small tan-
nery to the east of the northern approach to Washington
Street bridge in 1856 and continued it up to 1888. In 1870
the firm of H. Lohman & Co. was formed and the firm built
a tannery on the site of David Smoke's saw mill and continued
operations up to 1887. The discontinuance of the tanning in-
dustry in all of these cases here being due to the fact that
the supply of bark for tanning purposes was about exhausted
in this section and the expense of getting it by water or rail
being greater here than at points where boat or rail facilities
were such that the raw material could be delivered right at
the plants without hauling by teams.
THE CHAIR FACTORY.
But it was its woodworking industries that was to give the
settlement its permanency and make it known from one end of
the land to the other and for that matter throughout the
civilized world in time. It was the timber and saw mills
that paved the way for the first woodworking manufacturers
and it was these early beginnings on which the foundation of
the city of today was gradually built.
But before we proceed it might be well to make the point
that long before ever white man set his foot on these grounds,
Two Rivers had been a manufacturing site. On the French
or east side the piles of flint chips broken or chipped from
flint rocks as they were being shaped into arrows and other
stone implements are abundant evidence that here was the
site of an ancient industry. Mingled with the piles of chips of
all sizes and colors, arrow heads, some perfect, some broken in
the course of manufacture can be found. Besides this, frag-
ments of pottery and the bones of the dead give mute evi-
dence that a permanent site of abode existed here for years
before the advent of the white man. But it is with the modern
settlement that we are dealing. Up to this time, viz.: 1850,
there were no manufacturing industries here except that in
a sense saw mills might come under that classification. But
no finished goods were made here and the saw mills would
only foreshadow the end unless manufacturing institutions
Through the assistance of Mr. C. H. Albers who was the
first superintendent of the pail factory here, we were enabled
to obtain a great deal of information relative to the first wood-
working industry here, this being the manufacture of chairs
by the New England Mfg. Co.
28 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
The following items relative to the chair factory were ob-
tained from Mrs. Elizabeth A. Jennison, of Omaha, Neb., a
daughter of the first superintendent, William Honey. This
Wm. Honey was murdered at Fond du Lac, Wis., in the
Winter of 1858, where he was then engaged in the poultry
business. His widow is now living in Omaha at the age of
95 years, and in the enjoyment of fair health and all of her
faculties, excepting being nearly blind.
The chair factory was built in the Summer of 1856 by the
New England Mfg. Co. The company was composed of
Aldrich Smith & Co. of Two Rivers, Wm. Honey, Thomas
Burns, Charles Jennison, and probably Alanson Hall of Mas-
sachusetts. Mr. Honey was superintendent of the sawing out
of the stock and the preparation of the stock for use, Charles
Jennison of the chair and furniture making, and Thomas
Burns of the painting and finishing of the manufactured ar-
ticles, and Mr. Hall worked at painting in the factory. Mr.
Jennison gave up the superintendency of the chair making
department in 1858 or 59 and was succeeded by Wm. Johnson.
The hard times of 1857 and 58 were disastrous to the New
England Mfg. Co. and the property came into the hands of
Aldrich, Smith & Co. and their successors. In 1859 John N.
Burns (a son of Thomas Burns), rented the property and
assumed the operation of the factory. Mr. Geo. Simonds of
Newbury, Ohio, succeeded Mr. Johnson as superintendent
of the chair making department. John H. Burns operated
the works until after 1862 and it was operated by Joseph Mann
soon after he came to Two Rivers.
Mr. Honey remained with the factory until about 1864.
Mr. J. B. Lord of Gardner, Mass., writes as follows: "I ar-
rived in Two Rivers in the month of September, 1856, the
chair factory buildings being built and most of the machinery
installed. The engine was made in Fitchburg, Mass., and
was shipped to Two Rivers by propeller from Buffalo late
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 29
in the Fall of 1856, but was caught at Mackinaw in the ice
and did not arrive at its destination until early in the Spring
When part of the machinery was in running order, Geo.
W. Honey (a son of Wm. Honey), and myself made, partly
by hand, the first chairs, some office chairs for the Lake
Geo. W. Honey is now holding some U. S. Government
position in Washington, D. C, and Mr, Lord is employed in
one of the large chair factories in Gardner, Mass., to which
city he went immediately after the close of the war, he hav-
ing been a member of the 27th Wis. Regiment, in which he
enlisted in 1862.
THE PAIL FACTORY.
The building of the pail factory was commenced in March,
1857, by Henry C. Hamilton & Co.; the company being Al-
drich. Smith & Co., Henry C. Hamilton of Two Rivers and
William H. Metcalf, a brother-in-law of Hamilton, of Lock-
port, N. Y.
The firm of Aldrich, Smith & Co. consisted of William Al-
drich, H. H. Smith, generally called "Deacon Smith," and a
Mr. Medbury of Milwaukee, Wis. The architect of the pail
factory was Homer Glass a millwright of ability, who super-
intended the erection of the building, which was 40 x 120 feet
tv/o stories and an attic, with an addition on south side for
saw mill of 14 x 26 feet, he installing two boilers, an engine,
shafting and pulleys, a muley saw, a cut-off saw, and two
bench circular saws of 36 and 40 inches diameter. After com-
pleting the work he moved to Racine where he died several
years ago. Mr. G. H. Albee arrived in Two Rivers March 30,
1857, he having been engaged by Mr. H. H. Smith to super-
intend the erection of the pail and tub making machinery
and the operation of the factory.
Obed Mattoon, a retired chair manufacturer of Milwaukee
now and Harrison Cheney, of West Swanzey, N. H. (Mr.
Albee's native place), accompanied him. They came on the
schooner "Brilliant" of Milwaukee from that city, as there
was then no railroad north of Milwaukee. An uncommon
incident occurred on their trip. The first morning out from
Milwaukee, they found Lake Michigan perfectly still and
covered as far as could be seen with a thin coating of ice,
about one-half inch thick, through which the schooner had to
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 31
plough its way at a slow rate of speed. By about ten o'clock
the ice had melted or been broken up.
The schooner landed them on the north pier about 1 P. M.
of the second day out. They immediately went to a hotel
on the north side of Main St. next to the East River bridge,
kept by Mr. House, for their dinner. Later in the day they had
their baggage carried to the Lake House, which had just
been opened by L. H. Phillips, who kept the house for transient
and local customers for some dozen or more years and where
Mattoon and Cheney remained as long as they stayed in the
place. Mr. Albee remained until married in the Spring of 1859.
Mattoon and Cheney secured employment in the chair factory
until the pail factory was in running order, when they had jobs
of painting there, and Mr. Albee commenced on the work of
the pail factory. The piles for the foundation were then
about half driven. John Millis was in charge of the pile
driver, and Pat. Brazil drove the team. The river was open
and there had been but a few inches of snow during the
Winter, but on April 15th snow to the depth of 18 inches fell.
It remained but a few days.
Indians were quite plenty here at that time, bands of 6 to
a dozen being in the village every few days. Upon going to
the factory grounds one morning quite early and before any
of the workmen were there, Mr. Albee says, "I discovered
an Indian's 'Dug Out,' or a round bottomed log canoe, tied
up at the river bank. It was the first I had seen, and 'naving
a Yankee's inquisitiveness, like the boy who cut the bellows
open to see what made the wind, I decided to investigate it.
I therefore got into it and attempted to sit down with the
result that my next move was to crawl out of the river a wetter
but wiser man, a dry suit of clothes being the next most nec-
essary thing to get. I let the Indians' canoes alone after that.
Four or five years later I had a canoe of my own which I used
nearly every day during the Summer, the bottom of which
32 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
was of such form, that a 'tip over' was almost impossible."
The woodenware making machinery first installed in the
factory consisted of one tub stave saw, two pail stave saws
(the heading was sawed upon the 40-inch bench saw), one
tub turning lathe and matcher, three pail lathes and matchers,
one heading planer, one bottom jointer, one pair of hoop rolls,
one pail and one tub hoop punch, one tub bottom cutter, one
pail bottom cutter, one pail ear cutter, and one paint grinding
mill. All of this was on the second and third floors. Within
6 or 8 years the factory was extended upon its east end 88
feet, another tub lathe installed, an engine lathe and iron
planer added, a feed mill and also a machinery for making
barrel covers and hand sleds put in. Ten brick dry houses
supplied the dry stock.
Upon the lower floor David Pratt of Swanzey, N. H., in-
stalled two clothes pin lathes, a pin slotter and saws, of his
own, and made the clothes pins for an agreed price per box,
the factory furnishing the stock in the board. Pratt remained
nearly two years when he sold to Mr. E. E. Bolls who added
broom handles, he selling out in 1861 to S. J. Fay and Mr.
Albee, who put in, in 1863, gang saws and improved clothes
pin lathes, and selling out in 1865 to the factory owners.
The financial crash of the Fall of 1857 threw the firms of
Aldrich, Smith & Co., and that of H. C. Hamilton & Co. into
difficulties too great for their resources and an assignment
was made to S. H. Seaman & Co. which was composed of
S. H. Seaman and Conrad Baetz. Mr. William Aldrich retiring
and the firm of Henry C. Hamilton & Co. being wiped out,
Messrs. S. H. Seaman & Co. operated the business of Aldrich,
Smith & Co., which included the "Old Mill" on the north bank
of the Neshoto river, near the Washington St. bridge, the
"New Mill" directly opposite on the south side of the river,
the blacksmith shop, store. Lake House, several dwellings,
farm and timber lands in Manitowoc and Brown counties,
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 33
teams, barns and warehouses, and they also operated the pail
factory until the Winter of 1860-61, when Mr. Joseph Mann
of the firm of Mann Bros., Milwaukee, came to Two Rivers
and then or soon after, purchased an interest in said properties,
H. H. Smith retaining an interest, but S. H. Seaman & Co.
retiring from the management, which Mr. Mann then assumed.
Leopold Mann came to Two Rivers three or four years later
and acquired an interest in the business and assumed in
part its management.
THE SAW MILLS.
The aforesaid "Old Mill" was the pioneer mill in this part
of the state ; judging from its equipment, says Mr. Albee. Its
main line of shafting was octagonal, about 6 or 7 inches in
diameter, had a turned journal near each end and clutch coup-
lings, the pieces being about 10 feet long. The machinery
consisted in 1857 of two flue boilers, an engine, a circular
log saw (perhaps a smaller circular or a muley), lath mill, slab
saw, lath bolter, a Daniels planer, and a feed-grinding mill and
also an engine lathe of then, modern make, 16-in, swing and
The "New Mill" contained a circular log saw, bolter and
lath saws, and a siding mill for sawing siding from 6-in. cants
with thick and thin edges alternately. This mill ceased run-
ning about 1861 or 62.
A mill called "The Pierpont Mill" stood on the ground now
occupied by the Coal Co., and Judge Henry S. Pierpont was
the local representative and manager, the Company ov/ning
the north pier from which their product was shipped. This
mill ceased running about 1858 or 1859 we understand. N.
Newcomb was the outside superintendent.
The Lindstedt Mill which was on the ground now occupied
by Mr. Fred Eggers Veneering Works, Mr. Albee has no
recollection of being run as a lumber mill after 1857, but if he
remembers correctly, it was operated as a flour mill, 6 or 7
years later. Julius Lindstedt, now or lately of Manitowoc was
interested in it. With reference to this mill, Julius Lindstedt,
son of the above, writes :
"The Lindstedt millsite property consisted of Lots 1 and 2,
Block 53, City of Two Rivers. The same was purchased by
JUDGE H. S. PIERPONT.
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 35
Frederick Lindstedt Sept. 20, 1855. The purchase price for
the property at that time was $2,000.00. The name of the
firm at that time was Frederick Lindstedt & Co., the other
partner being Daniel Lindstedt. My father, Julius Lindstedt,
was not a partner in the business, but was in their employ
at the time. I am advised by old settlers that Frederick Lind-
stedt was at the head of the business and the same was ope-
rated for a number of years, but owing to the death of Fred-
erick Lindstedt in 1857 (he was murdered on the roadside
between the old "Kuehn's farm" and the City of Two Rivers)
the business was discontinued. The facts in the case prob-
ably were that owing to the death of Frederick Lindstedt,
the business was not properly managed and they were, in a
measure, forced to liquidate the same."
David Smoke had a lumber mill north of the Lindstedt
Mill, which was operated little if any after 1857. North of
Smoke's Mill was one owned probably by Russell and Harvey,
or Harvey and Russell, and which was called "The Harvey
Mill." This mill burned down about 1 o'clock P. M. one day
early in the Summer of 1858. There were no manufacturing
industries carried on upon the east side of the Mishicott River,
excepting the making of fish barrels by hand, fishing being
an important industry at that time. The "Pound Nets" came
into use about 1860. Albert Barry kept the old Government
light house, which was located some distance east of the
mouth of the river. In the Summer or Fall of 1860, Mr. Barry
moved to the west side of the Mishicott River and it was then
occupied by James Scott for awhile.
It may be of interest to the present generation to learn
when pails were first made by machinery, Jehiel Wilson, of
South Keene, N. H., was the first maker of the then called
"patent pails," which was probably about 1825 or 26. Soon
after, Benjamin Page of Swanzey, N. H., a town adjoining
Keene, took out machinery for cloth dressing and put in pail
36 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
making machinery. This was in 1828. The making of pails,
tubs, kanakins, and other kinds of woodv/are has since that
date been carried on in Swanzey and Keene, the writer having
been an employee in three shops in Swanzey during his early
life. It is now carried on in four places in Swanzey, and one
or two in Keene, also in a score of places in New Hampshire,
Vermont, and Massachusetts, the timber for it growing up
from burnt over grounds in 25 or 30 years to a diameter of
12 to 16 inches.
The dates of the building of the chair and pail factories
are correct, but those of the changes of management may not
be, but are approximately so. Mr. Albee remained with the
pail factory until November, 1866, when he moved to Menasha,
Wis., and taking up his residence in Neenah a year later,
where his home has been since then, but having been away
from there about five years at two or three times since 1869.
Bradford Smith, the oldest son of Deacon H. H. Smith, suc-
ceeded him in the superintendency of the factory. After his
decease, Chris. Johannes, Sr., succeeded him, he having been
one of the earliest employees of the factory under Mr. Albee's
G. H. ALBEE.
In speaking of some of the early days, Mr. Albee says :
"Some incidents which occurred 50 years ago, may be of
interest to the present generation. In 1856, or a little earlier
the Manitowoc & Mississippi Railroad was started, it running
from Manitowoc to Menasha, a distance of about 40 miles.
Considerable grading was done, some of which has since been
utilized by the St. Paul road, they using several miles of the
old grade from Menasha east, and probably in other places.
The grading was in progress in the Summer of 1857, but the
approaching stringency in financial circles being felt severely
by those who were promoting the road, some of those in Mani-
towoc who were interested in the enterprise endeavored to
boost the road along by means of a mass meeting, a parade,
with band of music, public speaking, etc., to which the people
of Two Rivers were invited. The invitation was accepted
by some of the more jovial element, and the late Robert Suet-
tinger who conducted a hardware store, at the corner of Main
and Washington Streets, for many years, was chosen as chief
engineer, to manage Two River's part in the parade. One of
Aldrich, Smith & Co.'s teams was procured, a long reach put
into the wagon, a long platform built upon the wagon, a
cabin built upon the platform near its rear end to represent
the engineer's cab, and the tender, a piece of an old smoke
stack, mounted upon the platform, and extending horizontally
forward for the engineer's 'Cab,' the bell being, I think, a large
cow bell, with rope for ringing it, running to the cab. Fred
Arndt, then an employee of the Aldrich, Smith Co. (who later
enlisted, went through the War of 1862 to 1865, and soon after
38 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
the war bought a farm 4 miles west of Neenah, which he
farmed for many years in connection with his trade of butcher,
buying and seUing cattle, etc., but two or three years ago gave
it to his sons to run and moved into the city), was appointed
'fireman' for the 'locomotive.' The 'tender' was provided with
an abundant supply of fuel, which consisted of material that
would produce an abundance of dense black smoke, when
ordered to do so by the engineer, and ring the bell.
You can well imagine the amusement the outfit made for
the spectators and participants. After doing their part in
the parade and quaffing a few glasses of lager, the party
started on their return trip, late in the evening. The road
was not the best, the load was heavy, and it was necessary
to occasionally stop the horses for a rest. Arriving at a sandy
stretch between 'Kuehn's Farm' and the village of Two Rivers
the team was halted and the fireman ordered to fire up so as
to go into the village under a good head of steam, which he
proceeded to do. After waiting until his patience was exhausted,
he looked out of the cab, to learn the reason of the long delay,
when to his surprise and chagrin he discovered that the horses
had been unhitched from the wagon and the men and horses
were far ahead on their way to the village. He walked home
that night, and always accused Mr. Suettinger as the perpe-
trator of the prank."
When the financial crash of 1857 came, money was a thing
of the past. Wages of men dropped, common laborers com-
manding but 75c. per day, and "orders on the store" were the
principal currency. $10.00 in bankable funds being more than
many families had in a year. Provisions, such as wheat, rye
flour, corn meal, and potatoes were low in price, but labor was
not plenty. One incident I recall proves this. An Irishman
living in Mishicott secured employment at the pail factory
in the Winter of 1858 at 75 cents per day. When Saturday
night arrived he took for a part of his pay a sack, 98 lbs., of
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 39
flour, which he carried to Mishicott, nearly, or quite 8 miles on
his shoulders. After the commencement of the war, for
convenience in dealing with their employees, many manufac-
turers issued what was called "script" which was somewhat
like bank bills and was issued in dollars and fractions thereof.
These representations of value soon received the name of "shin
plasters," and were payable in merchandise only, but were
kept in circulation by some business houses up to as late as
1875 or a little later. Laws have since been passed, making
their issuance illegal. After the commencement of the war
and the call for 300,000 more men, the younger element became
interested and began talking about enhsting. Some of the
Democrats were opposed to the war, but not all of them, a
few enlisting, but a majority of those enlisting were believers
in the principles of the Republican party. Public opinion was
such that no active opposition was made by the Democrats in
Two Rivers, and several who were prominent in the Demo-
cratic ranks took active and prominent parts in securing
enlistments. The beginning of enhsting in Two Rivers as I
remember it, was started by the chair and pail factory em-
ployees, one afternoon, by organizing a company with fife and
drum to march up to the tannery, going up on the east side,
and returning on the west side of the Mishicott River. A
raid was made before starting on a pile of broom handles in
the pail factory for "guns." The writer was one that carried
a "gun" in that march. Upon the return of the company that
night, or soon after, the following persons agreed to enlist,
although no papers were then signed to that effect.
THE BOYS OF '61.
The following is a list as near as Mr. Albee can remember
of those who agreed to enlist from Two Rivers after that enthu-
siastic march to the tannery and back. This of course does
not constituted by any means, all of those that enlisted from
Two Rivers to serve in the ranks of the Union Army.
*Henry C. Hamilton, Wm. Hurst,
Lafayette Smith, Wm. Henry,
B. J. Van Valkenburg, Isaac Kingsland,
Chas. Knapp, J. B. Lord,
Geo. T. Burns, Anson A. Allen,
*A. J. Hamlet, Thomas McMellen,
Chas. Whitcomb, Henry Hempke,
James Sym, *William Sutherland,
Wm. Leard. James Allee.
All of the 21st Wis. Inf. All of the 27th Wis. Inf.
James Sym, now of the Wis. Vet. Home, at Waupaca, adds
to the above :
Reuben Kingsland and John Shram of the 7th Wis. Bat-
tery; John Phillips, of the 6th Wis. Inf.; Aug. Weilep, 16th
Regulars. John Arnolds, Thomas Waggoner and Arnold
Waggoner, of the 5th Wis. Inf. Thomas McMellen returned
as captain, and Wm. Henry as 1st lieutenant in the 27th.
Isaac Kingland was wounded at the battle of Jenkins Ferry,
was taken prisoner, and died later. Chas. Whitcomb was
wounded at the battle of Perry ville, Oct. 8th, 1862. Charles
Knapp was wounded at the battle of Peach Tree Creek,
Aug. 7th, 1863.
H. C. HAMILTON.
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 41
The names of those preceded by a * died in the South and
of those reported by Mr. Sym, the writer cannot say that all
returned to Two Rivers. William Leard of the 21st Reg.
and Lafayette Smith, probably enlisted from Mishicott.
So many of the pail factory employees signifying their
intention of going that Mr. Joseph Mann was desirous that
Mr. Albee remain so as to break in new hands and keep the
factory running, and as an inducement to the boys for his
release, promised to donate to the families of those going the
sum of two hundred dollars. This was accepted by them and
Mr. Albee was allowed to remain, he reluctantly agreeing to
do so, but with less reluctance on account of the ill health
of his wife, and age of the oldest of his two children being
less than two years.
As the war progressed and the stories of suffering and the
death of the soldiers were received by the people of Two
Rivers, their enthusiasm about enlisting grew less, so that
drafts had to be resorted to in order to keep up the necessary
army, each town being assigned her quota, according to the
number of able bodied men living there.
In the Winter of 1865 a draft was ordered for the town,
the quota being as he remembers it, 41. At any rate, it would
take every able bodied man, and as Mr. Albee was then in
that class, according to Dr. H. O. Crane of the examining
corps, he was sure of being one of the "elect." The pail
factory owners being still anxious that he remain as its super-
intendent, he was supplied with the necessary funds and told
to go to Green Bay and procure a substitute, that being the
Provost Marshal's headquarters for the northern part of the
state, and persons desiring to go as substitutes going there
to find purchasers. He stayed there about a week before one
could be found, when Mr. August Hyat, of Sheboygan County
who had a few days previously paid all of his money, $400.00,
for a team of horses and engaged in drawing supplies from
42 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
Green Bay to Escanaba on the ice and lost his whole outfit
by the horses breaking through the ice, offered himself.
Mr. Hyat having been examined and pronounced "sound,"
a bargain was soon arranged, Mr. Albee paying him $737.50
for his substitute for one year. This was March 9th, 1865,
but a little over a month before the war closed. Mr. Albee
learned that he was sent to Madison, Wis., and kept there
about six months and then discharged. The pail factory com-
pany paid one-half of the cost of the substitute, and he the
remainder. Within sixty days after procuring a substitute Mr.
Albee, in working under the pail factory boilers, on his knees,
the cords of one of his limbs was so stretched as to cause one
knee joint to occasionally slip out of place, and therefore dis-
qualifying him as a soldier. But the war was ended and he had
no regrets on account of the expense incurred by his share of
In the Summer of 1863, the "Indian Scare" of Manitowoc
and Sheboygan counties occurred. In some manner the rumor
became current that the Indians were going to make a raid
upon Manitowoc and Two Rivers, burn the buildings and kill
the people. How the rumor started is unknown. They seldom
came into the village those days, they being more general
around Green Bay, Stockbridge and the Oneida Reservation,
and when they had come around the Lake Shore towns, their
intercourse had always been friendly with the people, so that
it was not believed by the majority that any attention should
be paid to the rumor, notwithstanding which it was reported
that several families residing west of Manitowoc deserted their
homes and fled to Manitowoc for safety. There were no par-
ticularly timid ones in Two Rivers, although it was a promi-
nent topic for some days.
A MEMORABLE 4th.
The 4th of July in the year 1852 which, owing to the 4th
occurring on Sunday, was celebrated on the 5th, is one that
will never be forgotten by many of the earlier settlers.
In order that the nation's anniversary might be duly cele-
brated, a committee of villagers had made arrangements for
a parade and picnic at which a luncheon and refreshments of
all kinds were to be served without charge. Hosea Allen was
in charge of the arrangements and invitations had been sent
to the residents of Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Milwaukee to
participate in the festivities.
Accordingly friends in Milwaukee arranged an excursion
to Two Rivers on the side-wheeler steamer "Planet" which
left Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon, July 4th, at about 6
o'clock for Two Rivers, stopping at Sheboygan and Manitowoc
en route to take on additional excursionists. The steamer with
a large number of excursionists on board arrived at the pier
here about 9 o'clock Monday morning and was met by prac-
tically all the villagers who accorded them an enthusiastic and
noisy welcome, in true western style.
A line of march was then formed with Hosea Allen at the
head and Ed. Boutin as marshal of the day, followed by the
band and the crowd. After a short parade in honor of the
occasion, they were escorted to a grove of tall pine trees,
which occupied the site where Mr. Kessman resided for many
years. Here tables and benches had been erected and the
visitors and others were treated to an elaborate dinner which
was to be followed by a program of speech-making, games
and a general jollification.
In order that the celebration might be duly ushered in, an
old cannon which had formerly constituted a part of the de-
44 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
fenses of Fort Howard, near Green Bay, and which had been
brought here sometime previous, was brought into service.
The committee on arrangements had procured six 50-lb.
kegs of powder and engaged Ed. LaPoint, a veteran of the
Mexican War, to fire the salutes. The cannon was planted on
a knoll or hill which occupied a site approximately on the
northwest corner of the public school grounds. The knoll
was surmounted by a flag pole 175 feet high. For convenience
in handling and loading the cannon, the powder from five
kegs had been sewed up in flannel bags containing one pound
of powder each, each bag constituting one charge. The other
keg was opened and left in this condition, the powder being
used in priming the cannon. All of the powder both in the
bags and keg was placed conveniently near at hand.
Promptly at four o'clock in the morning the first salute
was fired and continued at regular intervals up to ten o'clock
in the morning, when a disaster occurred that caused sorrowing
and suffering to many and turned the day of joy and pleasure
into sorrow and suffering.
It seems that some of the younger element were engaged
in shooting fire crackers and began throwing them promiscu-
ously about. Suddenly one of the lighted fire crackers was
thrown into the keg containing the loose powder which had
been used for priming the cannon. Instantly a sheet of flame
shot forth igniting the other powder contained in the bags,
which, igniting all at once, exploded and flames and powder
were shot out in every direction for a distance of 100 feet
or more. When the smoke had cleared away it was found
that 36 people had been more or less severely injured, the
clothes catching fire in many instances, adding to the horror.
Of those most severely injured were the following: Henry
Decker, Henry Rife, Albert Jackson, Oliver Pilon and Moses
Bunker. Friends immediately offered every assistance, private
homes were thrown open, notably that of Mr. Gotlieb Berger
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 45
at that time residing near the Washington House, where the
injured and badly burned were wrapped in cotton and
Of the victims Albert Jackson was so severely injured
by the force of the explosion, besides receiving burns, that
he died within a few hours after the accident. Of the others
all recovered but many were sadly disfigured and will retain
the scars the balance of their lives. Moses Bunker was prob-
ably, next to Jackson, the most badly injured, and although
only eight years of age at the time, and badly burned, he finally
recovered and still lives to recite the history of that day.
The steamer "Planet" with such of the injured and others
of the excursionists immediately left for Milwaukee to pro-
cure more sweet oil and cotton and other medical supplies
as might be needed and returned the following day in record
breaking time with the much needed supplies.
The old cannon used on that occasion did service for
nearly 50 years on similar occasions after that, and finally
came to a glorious end by bursting while firing a salute on
the occasion of Schley's victory at Santiago, July 4, 1898.
Fortunately no one was injured when she burst. The victory
was evidently too great for the limited capacity of the cannon
to properly give vent to its pent up feelings, so with a su-
preme effort it burst.
JOHN LA WE.
John Lawe was born in York, England, about 1780. His
father was an officer in the English service, his mother a
Miss Franks, a Jewess.
His uncle, Jacob Franks, educated him at Quebec, Canada,
and took him into the Indian trade in 1797 when he employed
him as a clerk at his trading post in Green Bay. About 1801
he married Therese Rankin. Her father was a Scotch-Indian
trader and her mother was of the Chippewa Indian tribe.
His uncle returned to Montreal and left his business in
Mr. Lawe's care and later sold out to him entirely. Mr. Lawe
made his home at Green Bay until his death, Feb. 11th, 1846.
His body lies buried in the old settlers' lot at Woodlawn
Cemetery, Green Bay.
During the War of 1812 he held a commission as lieutenant
in the British service.
About 1823 he was appointed Associate Judge of the
County Court under the laws of Michigan Territory, and
several years after this he was appointed Probate Judge of
Brown County, which at that time comprised nearly all of
He followed the trade of dealer in Indian goods and traded
with the Indians, frequently journeying to the pay grounds in
person. He was one of the partners in the Green Bay Com-
pany that afterwards was acquired by the American Fur Com-
pany and for many years was one of the agents for the
American Fur Company at Green Bay.
He acquired large holdings of land at many important
points in Wisconsin, including Two Rivers, and died a man
of considerable wealth.
EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN. 47
He had two sons and six daughters. One son died un-
married, the other, Geo. W. Lawe, married Catherine Meade
and settled at Kaukauna and is known as the Father of Kau-
kauna; he died in 1897 survived by one son, John Lawe. He
is still living and has one son, Leo Lawe, of Green Bay.
Judge John Lawe was an Episcopalian in religious belief
and a supporter of that church in Green Bay.
G. H. ALBEE.
G. H. Albee was born at West Swanzey, New Hampshire,
Jan. 2, 1831. He learned pail turning in 1850 and continued
at his trade until 1854, when he went to Angelica, N. Y., as
superintendent in building and operating a pail and tub fac-
tory. He came to Two Rivers in 1857 to build and superin-
tend the pail and tub factory, and remained 9 years. On April
26, 1859, he was married to Mary Burns, a daughter of Mr.
and Mrs. Thomas Burns, of Two Rivers, but formerly of
In 1866 he removed to Neenah to take charge of the manu-
facturing end of the Neenah Woodenv/are Co., and remained in
their employ with the exception of several short intervals
At present he is engaged in soliciting patents for inventors
making his home at Neenah, Wis.
JOHN H. BURNS.
John H. Burns, son of Thomas Burns, was born in Lowell,
Mass., in 1833. He was married there and moved to Two
Rivers with his father's family in 1856, and entered the em-
ployment of the New England Mfg. Company as bookkeeper.
After the financial crash of 1857 and the going out of existence
of that company he rented the plant and operated it for about
five years, after which he moved to Neenah, Wis., rented a
building and with a Mr. Fisher, carried on the chair and
48 EARLY DAYS IN TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN.
furniture business until the Spring of 1870 when the building
was burned. He then moved his family to Austin, the Capital of
Texas, and entered the ofBce as a bookkeeper of the then
State Treasurer of Texas, Mr, George W. Honey, one of the
two men who made the first set of chairs in The New England
manufactory in the Spring of 1857.
Later Mr. Burns moved to Galveston, Texas, and entered
the United States Revenue Service and died there. May 1, 1898.
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