"Portrait & Biographical Album of Rock County, Wisconsin"

©1889 Acme, Chicago, Illinois


pp. 1028-1031


Courtesy of Lori

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 settled.
The first white woman here was Mrs. Caleb BLODGETT. The first building was
THIEBAULT's 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 in 1838.
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, Clerk.
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 outfit.
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 College]

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