History of Grand Chute, Wisconsin
From: History of Outagamie County, Wilsonsin
Thomas H. Ryan - Editor in Chief
Goodspeed Historical Allociates, Publishers
Chicago 1911

Town of Grand Chute. - At the organization of the town of Kaukauna there were perhaps a few settlers in the northeastern part of what is now Grand Chute. During the six years following to 1848, several more came to that vicinity, forming the French settlement. Of these Raphael St. Marie was probably first. Bela B. Murch came to Grand Chute June, 1846, and bought land, which was entered June 29, in section 33. He, however, resided. in Wrightstown until fall, when he built a shanty and moved in. His nearest neighbor. was Burr S. Craft, whose land entry was made June 6 in section 33. The following year Mr. Murch built a frame house. and December 9, 1847, a son was born, who was thought to have been the first white child of American parents born in the county. This claim may be disputed by Charles A. Abbott, who, it is said, was 'born December 8, 1845, in Freedom. Burr S. Craft moved to Lecos Point; adjoining Murch, December of the same year. After building his house he went to Neenah for lime, which he brought in a bag on his shoulder. Returning that evening he was chased by the wolves. When he reached Mud Creek, which he had to cross on a log, felled for the purpose, the wolves were so near he got frightened, threw his bag into the creek, rushed to Murch's house and yelled: "Maybe you like that music, but d-d if I do." Obid T. Boynton, brother of Mrs. Murch, settled about 1847 in section 32. An elderly Frenchman, Retette Grignon, lived near the Grand Chute, which then swarmed with fish.

In the winter of 1847-8 Henry L. Blood had ten acres cleared in section 26, which was sowed to wheat, the first in town. A breaking outfit used in Grand Chute was a huge plow with a keen sloping coulter, drawn by twelve big oxen. With this outfit the roots of hazel and other brush were plowed out, the stumps of saplings removed and good sized roots of larger trees cut off and torn out. The men engaged in chopping for Blood boarded with Bela Murch, about two and one half miles away, and carried their dinners to the clearing. One day while eating, the wolves drove them away.

Ezra L. Thurber, said to have been the first settler within the city limits of Appleton, came and established a claim in the spring of 1848, and built a shanty across the ravine west of what was later Pierce's Park, and the first child born in the city, says H. L. Blood, was his son and was born in January, 1849. Revs. Sampson and Smith and H. L. Blood, with Hoel S. Wright, surveyor, laid out the plat of Appleton, August 4 and 5; 1848, located in township 21, range 17, section 26, as follows: East half of southwest quarter, west half of southeast quarter and 31 acres of east half of northwest quarter of section 35, lying north of Fox river. Not long afterward the plat of the Town of Lawesburg was laid out by George W. Lawe, on part of fractional lot 1, section 26, and part of fractional lot 4, section 25, township 21, range 17.

The first team of oxen and the first wagon were brought by H. L. Blood, who procured them in Winnebago county, August, 1848, and set them to work drawing lumber from Oneida Mill at Duck creek, where a hundred thousand feet had been bought for the Lawrence buildings. To reach the mill he had first to open a road

About the same time Robert R. Bateman and his son, R. S. Bateman, came with a team from Green Bay, by way of the St. Marie settlement, the last place where they could be directed to the future city. They then proceeded west to a section line which they followed south.

Hector McKay came to Grand Chute October, 1850, and settled northeast quarter section 32. F. C. Vandebogert came to Grand Chute, 1850, and in August purchased the fractional northwest quarter of section 7, township 21, range 18, Grand Chute His brother, Henry, bought the quarter section lying south. Benjamin Proctor came in 1850, was a blacksmith and wagon maker. He is said to have built the wagon which brought the first load of lumber from Oneida. A couple of years after coming he and his son started a tool factory.

There were no roads; mail was carried on horseback once 'a week from Fond du Lac by way of Oshkosh and Neenah to Green Bay. Burr S. Craft secured an appointment as postmaster, and opened an office in a pine box fastened to a tree near his house at Tecos Point. In the spring of 1849 the post office was established at Appleton, with J. F. Johnston postmaster, and in July H. L. Blood began carrying the mails three times a week from Menasha, Neenah and Appleton to Green Bay, running a stage from Appleton and a row boat from Appleton to Neenah and Menasha daily, carrying passengers and mails.

Among other early settlers were J. W. Cross, a Mr. Wotieman, D. L. Stinel, D. J: Fouler, Thomas Glede, John McGregor, P. J. Gates, Mr. Gates, A. B. Evarts, Henry S. Eggleston, John Stephens, Mr. Warner, a hunter, D. W. Briggs, William Rork, William Johnston, Anson Ballard, Rev. H. Smith, J. W. Woodward, Byron Douglas, C. G. Adkins, Winfield Scott, Frank Wing, J. W. Whorton, W. G. Whorton, Dudley Geans, John Moodie, Mr. Ford, Frederick Packard, John McPherson, Wm. Louda, Wm. M. Cloken, Isaac I. Buck, J. W. Holmes, John Ennis, E. W. Davis, Frank Bernard, S. H. Otto, W. Breitung and several sons; J. M. Steffens, George Lamphear, John H. Hart, Hanson Green, Jackson Tibbets, J. W. Wilcox, Warner B. Newton, E. L. Thurber, Aaron Messicae, F. R. Fuller, Jonathan Nye, R, A, Law, John P. Whip, John S. Eaton, A, S, Story, Otto van Heukelom, Sylvester Fairbanks, James. Wood, Charles and Gideon J, Wolcott, W, May, Wm, McGuire, Arnold Beauiliout, Henry Bissonette, Hugh Siliars, John Nolan, Matthew Long, Patrick Hodgins, N. B. Crane, Richard Burke, John H. Bemis, Abram Wrongst, Timothy Heenan, H. W. Wroe, Nelson Mereness, Edward Hafner, Mrs, P. Webley, Win, McGee, Timothy O'Leary; Seth Smith, Ed. Putney, Hiram Polly, Hector McKay, Alexander Ross, John, Samuel and Seth Childs all lived up near Mud Creek. Wm. Verity lived on farm in section 16, and with clearing land, hunting bear and deer and keeping bachelor's hall, made out to keep himself employed, The militia list of 1851 shows 159 names of men between 18 and 45 years of age,

W. H, Bogan, in section 16, Scarborough, on the Hortonville road; Sylvester Fairbanks in 21, J. C. Garland, Benjamin Olds, Curds Stevens, J. C. Cross, Joseph R. Sears, S. W. Fitch, the Lockwoods, Charles Mory, Joseph Rork, Henry S. Fitch, McPherson, Caleb Preston, H. N. Day, J. H. Martin, the Webleys, James Gilmore, Harmon Jones, George Knowles, C, B, Brownell, Amos Story, Robert Morrow,

Under an act relating to the town of Grand Chute, "so much of the town of Kaukalieu in Browncounty, Wisconsin, as is comprised in townships 21 and 22 north, of ranges 14, 15, 16 and 17 east, is hereby set off from said town of Kaukalieu and organized into a separate town by the name of Grand Chute, and the first town meeting shall be held at Johnston's tavern in the said town so set off on the first Tuesday in April next, This act shall take effect on the first Tuesday in April next,"

State of Wisconsin, county of Brown: At the meeting held at the house of W, P, Tuttle, April 3, A. D. 1849, in Appleton village, town of Grand Chute, county and state aforesaid, Reeder Smith was appointed chairman; W. Fitch, secretary; Henry L. Blood, R. R. Bateman and W. S. Warner were chosen judges of the election and qualified to enter upon the duties of their offices according to law,

It was voted that a tax Of $200 be raised for the incidental expenses of the town for the year,

On motion of W, P, Tuttle it was voted that a tax of two and fifty hundredths dollars be levied on each quarter section of deeded land, giving each owner the privilege of working out the same at the rate of one and twenty five hundredths dollars per day for work, and then on motion the meeting adjourned. - (Town Record,)

At the election held April 3, 1849, Henry L, Blood was elected chairman; Julius S, Buck and William H, McGregor, supervisors; Julius S. Buck, Robert R. Bateman, Bela B. Murch and Samuel P. Blake, justices of the peace; Ezra L. Thurber, town clerk; Henry L. Blood, assessor; John Stevens, inspector of schools; Hiram Pally, treasurer and collector; Obed T. Boynton, John P. Parrish and William Carter, constables. Twenty seven votes were cast,

April 23, 1849, a road was laid from the west line of the village of Appleton, at the terminus of College avenue, thence west 24 rods to a stake, thence south, thirty seven degrees fifty minutes west, 93.61 rods to the corner of sections 23, 27, 34 and 35, and thence to Tecos Point and the county line. This was the first legally laid road in the town. Soon afterward a road beginning at the east end of College avenue, on the town plat of Lawesburg, running east of north one mile 5.64 rods. The road to McGuire's Corners was laid in May, and on the 12th Road District No. 1 was formed, covering the road to Tecos Point, and W. S. Warner appointed overseer, At a meeting of the board of supervisors, September 22, 1849, Alonzo Horton of Hortonville, was appointed overseer of Highway District No. 3; Hiram Polly, overseer of District 4 and James Ward of District 6. "June 28, 29 and 30," says H. L. Blood, "we laid the road to Hortonville and to Bruce's Mills," All these roads became very important thoroughfares, the road to Hortonville when extended through tp New London, became, known as the Plank road,

At the general election, November, 1849, fifty two votes were cast, During 1849 many settlers had been locating in that part of Grand Chute now known as towns of Greenville, Ellington, Hortonia and Dale, which in April of 1850 were organized into three separate towns, Dale being yet a part of Hortonia, and when one assessor had made assessment in the whole territory of Grand Chute, the preceding year, it was voted at annual meeting, April 2, to have three in 1850. At the same time the following was adopted: "Resolved, That for all time to come, and until otherwise ordered, that swine of every description shall not be free commoners; i e., be permitted to run at large in the town of Grand Chute," One thousand dollars was voted for the building and repairing of roads and bridges; fifty dollars was voted for support of poor and one hundred for the incidental expenses of the town.

April 10, 1850, the supervisors ordered a road from the southwest corner of section 26, west to the town line, four miles, recorded as number 6, The first chattel mortgage was filed January 18, 1850, The highway commissioners, December 24, 1849, ordered a highway beginning at the west line of township 21, range 15, between sections 18 and 19, running thence east on the section line through ranges 15 and 16 to intersect the state road to Bruce's mill, and at same date ordered a road beginning at the point where the state road leaves the section line between sections 20 and 29, township 21, range 17, running west on the, section line through ranges 16, 15 and 14 to Wolf river.

January 10, 1850, town superintendent J. F. Johnston announced the formation of three school districts,

Among the business men in Grand Chute in 1853 were: J. W. Woodward, G. G. Adkins, A. M. McNaughton, J. S. Buck, Phinney Bros., A. C. Darling, Bennett, W. S. Warner, Reeder Smith, Charles Mory, Peter White, Theodore Conkey, Jackson Tibbetts, John F. Johnston, Col, William Johnston, J. H. Marston, William and Joseph Rork, T. P. Bingham, A. B. Randall, Amos Story, George M. Robinson A. B. Bowen, Dr. Byron Douglas, James Gilmore, Robert Morrow, J. P. Hawley, R. A. Lawe, C. P. Richmond and others,

Late in May, 1854, the citizens of Grand Chute voted to authorize the county supervisors to subscribe stock not exceeding $10,000 and to issue town bonds therefor, payable in fifteen years. to aid in the speedy completion of the Appleton and Stevens' Point plank road, The vote stood as follows: For the road, 141; against the road, 97; majority in favor, 44. "The plank road company has invested our supervisors with ample powers to locate, build and manage the road and from the known probity, enterprise and energy of the gentlemen composing the board we entertain no fears that they will make an injudicious use of such powers, Many of our citizens, and we are among the number, are opposed to loaning the credit of the town or county to such projects unless in cases where we are fully satisfied that an important road will not otherwise be built as soon as desirable," - (Crescent, May 27, 1854.) * * * "Such is the amount of wealth in this town, due to the rapid increase in population and the excellent business facilities, that capitalists at home are ready to take a large proportion of bonds should they be issued by the board, Whether it will be for the interests of the town that they should be disposed of here or negotiated east where the competition would be greater, the town board are better qualified to judge than we are, Bonds running 15 years at ten per cent. should command a handsome premium," -(Same.)

In 1857 the town of Grand Chute embraced town 21, range 17, and included the city of Appleton. The city included the south sections of the. township In point of fertility Grand Chute was not surpassed by any town in the state, The fertility of its soil, the beauty of its forests, its convenience to market, the thrift and enterprise of its inhabitants, its improvements, both public and private, were all of the highest order, The forests had been felled by 1857 and the soil turned up to the sun, and many fine farms and meadows were to be seen on every hand. Numerous orchards were growing, The rapid development of Appleton greatly advanced the land in and near Grand Chute, At the start the settlers took pride in improving the town roads, The schoolhouses and churches some distance from Appleton were numerous at this time.

March 15, 1858, the territory of Grand Chute was enlarged by the additions of sections 6, 7, 18, 19, the west halves of 8, 17, 20, and all of 30 lying north of Fox river, in township 21 north, of range 18 east, which had previously been included in the town of Kaukauna.

In August, 1858, thirty five German families arrived from the Fatherland and settled in the vicinity of Appleton, About the same time as many more Holland families came and settled in Buchanan, Kaukauna and Freedom. It was announced that within two weeks in August, 1858, over $10,000 was paid out for unimproved land in the vicinity of Appleton.

November 19, 1859, a committee reported to the county board that the plank roads were impassable, and that towns cannot repair them for fear the companies will put up gates and charge toll; that the charter cannot be repealed, The committee recommended that Appleton and towns make repairs on either of the roads, filing claims against such roads, and that no toll be collected until the towns be repaid with interest.

Among the leading farmers of Grand Chute in 1860 were the following: Barnes, Clarke, Putney, Darling, Rork, Woodland, Bogan, Morrell Johnston Ballard, Pearson, Fish, Murphy, Otto, Crane, Hodgins, McGuire, Bogart, Jackson, Wolcott and Heft The first paring bee ever held in Outagamie county occurred at the residence of B. B. Murch in the town of Grand Chute in October, 1860. Mr. Murch had a large orchard and already raised considerable fruit, and the paring bee was given as a reward to his family and neighbor, for their efforts to improve fruit in that community. In September, 1863, five bears were seen in Grand Chute within ten days. A farmer on the school section had a dog badly torn by one of these animals. Deer in considerable numbers were seen in that locality, A Belgian of the same vicinity reported that while hunting his cow his dog in advance was pounced upon by a panther and literally torn in pieces, "Lynx Killed. - On Thursday. John Van Owen with an ax killed a lynx in the town of Grand Chute not far from the city limits, Another has been seen in that vicinity," - (Crescent, January 25, 1868,)

In the fall of 1863 John H. Barnes of Grand Chute conducted one of the most extensive and most successful dairies in Outagamie county, He had one cow which gave 27 pounds, 14 ounces of milk at one milking, In September, 1875, Babcock and Schidmore, while hunting for deer in Grand Chute, killed unexpectedly a black bear weighing about 250 pounds, Almost from the start the town of Grand Chute wished to hold its annual elections in Appleton, because to do so was far more convenient; but permission was not granted until 1876, when provision to that effect was made in the new city charter,

Twenty farmers, owning 147 cows, were present at a meeting at the farm house of Myers Bros, in Grand Chute, February 11, 1885, and arranged for a cheese factory, to be erected on the northeast corner of Wickert's farm, Besides the farmers present ten or more others owning more than sixty cows were expected to send their milk, J. Gooster, C, Ballard and W, Doing were appointed a committee for the sale of cheese. The factory started about May 1, with Peter Towne, cheese maker, in charge.


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