- BELOIT is a prosperous manufacturing
city, picturesquely situated in the Rock River
- valley, about three hours ride by rail,
from either Chicago or Milwaukee, and is widely known as being
the seat of Beloit College. Rock river here not alone gladdens
the eye, but has also contributed to the growth and prosperity
of the city by turning the ponderous machinery of scores of large
manufacturing establishments, the products of which find their
way to nearly every portion of the civilized world.
- The water power is owned and controlled
by a corporation, the capital stock of
- which is divided into 800 shares. The
river is fed from immense lakes to the northward, which cover
10,000 acres of land, rendering the water supply practically
inexhaustible, and the cost of power is only significant as compared
with steam. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, and the Chicago
& Northwestern railroads have a track system extending the
full length of the water-power on either side, to facilitate
the shipments of products from the immense factories located
along this portion of the river, and through the excellent accommodations
afforded by these railways, metals and ores are shipped from
the North at a nominal cost.
- Among the varied products of the mammoth
manufactories of Beloit are wood-
- polishing machinery, wind-mills of
all sizes, pumps, feed grinders, wood- sawing machines, water
tanks, pulleys, plows, cultivators, harrows, check-rowers, shoes
and slipper, the finest made in the world, of 600 varieties and
styles, gloves, mittens, straw board, cedar carpet lining paper,
building paper, chilled steel roll for and other paper mill machinery,
overalls, working pants, jackets, shirts, scales, machine knives,
fire extinguishers, rotary movement machinery, cigars, paper
pails, paper boxes, sash, doors and blinds, flour and feed, patent
roller flour, barrels, butter tryers, wire bustles, pump cylinders,
iron lamp posts, pop and soda water, pipe tongs, pipe lifting
machinery, beer, bread, drive well points, washing machines,
patent wrenches, etc.
- Notwithstanding the fact that so many
industries are already in active operation in
- this beautiful city, there is room
for hundreds more. Several eligible sites on the water power
can still be obtained at a nominal cost. The surrounding rich
farm country provides an abundance of good, cheap food, and is
capable of feeding a city ten times the size of Beloit, while
it also furnishes an abundance of raw material for factory use.
The first white man known to have settled in any part of the
country adjacent to the present city of Beloit was one MACK,
a native of Exeter, N.H. The first white person who located at
what is now Beloit was one THIEBAULT, a French-Canadian
trader, who must have made his home there about 1823 or 1824.
These men cannot be called permanent settlers. The first such
was Caleb BLODGETT a Vermonter. This man was an adventurer
who had a most exciting career. He came about 1836, and purchased
THIEBAULT's claim, which the Frenchman bounded only by
"three looks" (three times the limit of his vision)
in every direction. He brought with him his sons, Nelson and
Daniel, and the family claimed about four sections of land, as
near as can be estimated. Of course the land belonged to the
government, and BLODGETT had no title to it, but he proceeded
as if he had, building a large double log house, and beginning
the erection of a saw-mill, and selling one-fourth of his interest
to Charles F. H. GOODHUE, one-half of which GOODHUE
sold to Charles JOHNSON and John DOOLITTLE. An
impetus was given to the settlement by the purchase of one-third
of BLODGETT's claim by the New England Emigrating Company,
which had been organized in New Hampshire in 1836, through its
agent, Dr. Horace WHITE. Prior to this purchase, the settlement
consisted only of Caleb BLODGETT and his family, John
HACKETT and his wife, Major Charles JOHNSON, the
GOODHUEs, John DOOLITTLE, Z. JONES and brother,
James CARTER and a Mr. DELAMATER. March 9, 1837,
R. P. CRANE and O. P. BECKNELL [BICKNELL?],
members of the company, came, and later came other members, among
them Henry MEARS, his wife and two of her brothers, Dr.
George W. and Edwin BRICKNELL [BICKNELL?], A. L.
FIELD, Horace HOBART, Asahel B. HOWE, Captain
Thomas CROSBY and wife, Israel C. CHENEY, James
CASS and wife. Among the early settlers not connected
with the company were Ira HERSEY, Benjamin CHENEY,
Walter WARNER and David NOGGLE. At a later date
there was serious and somewhat protracted difficulty about titles
to lands here, thus irregularly acquired, which were finally
- The first white woman here was Mrs.
Caleb BLODGETT. The first building was
cabin. The first large building was the old Beloit House. The
first mill was that begun by BLODGETT and finished by
GOODHUE. The first brick building was put up by Ira HERSEY
about 1842. The first sermon was preached in the Beloit House,
by Prof. WHITNEY, in 1837. The first school was taught
by John BURROUGHS in 1838. The first marriage was that
of Harvey BEVEDY and Mary J. MOORE by "Squire"
COLLEY, in 1839. The first death was that of Horace CLARK.
The first birth was that of a daughter of Mr. WADSWORTH
who kept the Beloit House. The first store was John HACKETT's,
opened in 1837. The first school-house was a frame building put
up in 1839. The first lawyer was David NOGGLE. The first
church was organized at the Rock River Hotel by Rev. William
ADAMS. The first banking business was begun by A. B. CARPENTER
in 1846. The first highway was from Beloit to Janesville. The
first railway survey was made in 1849. The first bridge over
the Rock River was built in 1845. The first election was held
- The village of Beloit was incorporated
with municipal powers and privileges in 1856.
- The first officers were W. T. GOODHUE,
Mayor; S. O. HUMPHREY, Treasurer; W. H. SHERMAN,
- The City Government is vested in a
mayor and twelve aldermen, three from each
- ward. The present mayor Hon. D. G.
FOSTER, was elected in the spring of 1889. The First ward
is represented in the council by E. A. HOWELL, F. S. FOSTER,
John MARTIN; the Second by E. P. WHEELER, L. M.
COLT, R. H. BROWN; the Third by E. J. ADAMS,
L. E. CUNNINGHAM, F. E. RACE; the Fourth by B.
A. TREADWAY, Daniel RIORDAN, S. C. SLAYMAKER.
The other officers of the city are as follows: Clerk, E. T. HANSEN;
Treasurer, J. A. LOVE; Marshall, C. F. NORTH.
- Beloit is specially well favored in
regard to her educational advantages. Both her
- High School and graded schools are
provided with fine new buildings and are fully equipped with
all the modern appliances for object and experimental teaching,
while the management is in the hands of educators of long experience,
who are assisted by a corps of thoroughly trained teachers. The
schools are all well attended and an admirable discipline by
strictly moral methods is among their distinguished features.
The pupils are fully up to the standard of the best metropolitan
schools. The reputation of the gentlemen who comprise the school
board is of itself a guarantee of the efficiency of the schools.
Prof. T. A. SMITH is President and A. N. BORT,
Secretary. The other members are as follows: L. Holden PARKER,
C. P. WHITFORD, R. J. BURDGE, Dr. Samuel BELL,
C. B. SALMON. The present principal is W. S. AXTELL.
Twenty-three other teachers are required. The High School building
is located on the West Side. No. 1 school is located on the north
end of the park, and is a department school for the First and
Second wards. No. 2 is a department school for the Third and
Fourth wards. The primary school building is located on the West
Side. These are all elegant, substantial brick and stone structures,
that reflect great credit on the city of Beloit.
- The citizens of Beloit are a church-going
people, and their spiritual instructors are
- ministers of a high degree of culture.
Ten churches, most of which are spacious, substantial structures,
of a fine order of architecture, are located in various parts
of the city, the following denominations being represented: The
Congregational (by two churches), Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist
Episcopal, Episcopal, German Lutheran, German Presbyterian, Norwegian
Lutheran and Roman Catholic. The First Congregational Church
was organized fifty years ago; the Second Congregational in 1859;
the First Presbyterian in 1849; the Baptist, forty-eight years
ago; the Methodist Episcopal, in 1842; St. Paul's Protestant
Episcopal, in 1849, (See history in biographical sketch of Rev.
Fayette ROYCE); the German Presbyterian,
in 1869; the Norwegian, in 1873; St. Thomas Roman Catholic about
six years ago; the German Lutheran about ten years ago.
- The various benevolent societies have
strong organizations, numbering among their
- members many leading citizens. Among
the organizations represented here are the Free Masons, the Odd
Fellows, Grand Army of the Republic, Knights of Pythias, etc.
The Young Men's Christian Association, with Mr. J. W. VAN
BEYNUM as Secretary, is in a flourishing condition.
- The Beloit Savings Bank, one of the
leading banking institutions of the county, was
- established in 1881. S. T. MERRILL
was one of the prime movers in the affair. At the first election
of officers, S. T. MERRILL was elected President; Aaron
L. CHAPIN and C. C. KULER [KELER?] were
elected vice-presidents; and J. A. HOLMES was elected
Secretary and Treasurer. The following named gentlemen were the
first trustees of the bank: A. L. CHAPIN, S. T. MERRILL,
J. H. REIGART, O. C. JOHNSON, C. C. KELER
[KULER?], J. B. GORDON, R. J. BURGE, S.
S. NORTHRUP, C. BABBETT, J. A. HOLMES, L.
L. LANSING and R. J. DOWD. The financial committee
was composed of R. J. BURGE, O. C. JOHNSON and
the president and vice-presidents. The present officers are R.
J. DOWD, President; E. J. SMITH and C. D. WINSLOW,
Vice- Presidents. The board of trustees is composed of R. J.
DOWD, E. G. SMITH, S. T. MERRILL, Dr. E.
N. CLARK, H. M. WHITNEY, C. E. WHEELER,
E. J. SMITH, H. PENTLAND, C. D. WINSLOW,
J. B. PEET, P. JOHNSON, and J. A. HOLMES.
- The Beloit Savings Bank is the only
institution of the kind in the State. It has been a
- paying enterprise since its organization,
and from the beginning it has paid a dividend of 2½ per
cent. every six months, amounting to $9,689. The deposits at
this writing, June, 1889, amount to $47,300, and can be made
in sums from 25 cents to $1,000. This institution has been of
steady growth from the beginning and is one of the important
business concerns of Beloit. The press is represented by the
Free Press and Citizen. An account of the former
is given in the biographical sketch of Cham
INGERSOLL. The Citizen
was established in 1879, when it was thought by some people that
it was time for a second paper to be established in Beloit, consequently
the Weekly Graphic was presented, edited and published
by MATHEWS & FILMORE. The paper was vigorously
edited and the office did a thriving business. Later, Mr. MATHEWS
severed his connection with the office and went to Nebraska.
Mr. FILMORE died in the harness and the Graphic
newspaper passed into other hands and was later re-issued under
the name of The Outlook, with Mr. TRUESDALE, editor
and publisher. Like its predecessor the Outlook enjoyed
a good business and seemed to thrive on the "fat of the
land." Becoming personally embarrassed, Mr. TRUESDALE
sold out and went to St. Paul, where he was engaged on the Pioneer
Press and went to Washington as the Press correspondent,
where he is now located.
- From Mr. TRUESDALE's time to
the spring of 1883 the Outlook had a checkered
- career and passed into charge of numerous
editors. In the spring of 1883, Mr. F. F. LIVERMORE purchased
an interest in the office and later became sole proprietor and
the property has since remained in his charge. In 1888 some of
the citizens of Beloit felt the need of a second daily paper
and organized a stock company with a capital of $4,000, of which
Mr. LIVERMORE took a half interest and citizens of Beloit
a half, the company purchasing the plant of Mr. LIVERMORE,
and it has since issued what is known as the Daily and
Weekly Citizen. The company also do[es] an extensive job
and printing business - the work turned out of the office being
second to none in the county. The office needs much better facilities
for doing work and the demands upon it seem to warrant a better
- Mr. F. F. LIVERMORE, secretary
and manager of the company, is an
- experienced printer of sixteen years'
practice, having successfully published a newspaper for four
years in Berlin, Wis., and four years at Lanark, Ill., and has
for the past six years been located in Beloit. Mr. A. H. VAN
TASSEL, city editor, is a graduate of the Beloit College;
other members of the company are representative educational,
manufacturing, professional and business men of the city. All
enjoy the highest social and business confidence of the community.
- [history continues with Beloit