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July 13, 2020
Question

What is the name of the Congressional Medal of Honor Winner from

Manitowoc who is named for the Army Reserve Center in Silver Creek Park?

Answer: Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller was born on August 11, 1916 in Manitowoc, the third son of Henry and Margaret

Miller. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in June 1942 at Two Rivers. Miller landed in France

on September 14, 1944, part of the Allied invasion force from England to France. Miller saw 36

days of continuous action with Gen. Patton’s Third Army march into Germany.

S/Sgt. Andrew Miller served in Company G, 377th Infantry Regiment, 95th Infantry Division. He

was cited for personal bravery while performing a series of heroic actions from November 16-

 

29, 1944 during his company’s relentless advance from Woippy, France through Metz to

Kerprich-Hemmersdorf, Germany.

During 13 days of battle Miller led attacks that knocked out four German gun emplacements and

captured 27 prisoners. He was mortally wounded on November 29, 1944 in Germany while

leading a platoon “into the mouths of enemy guns, firing as he went”. His remains are buried in

the Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France.

S/Sgt. Andrew Miller was posthumously awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor in

action on September 1, 1945. His widow, the former Mayme Jansky of Tisch Mills, received the

sergeant’s medal at ceremonies at Camp Shelby, Mississippi on September 7, 1945. The

medal is the national highest military award for bravery that can be conferred on a member of

the American armed forces.

Following World War II, the RADCLIFFE VICTORY, a U.S. Army cargo ship, was renamed

USAT SGT. ANDREW MILLER in his memory on October 31, 1947. The ship was

decommissioned in 1981.

The Andrew Miller Chapter 24 of the Disabled American Veterans, organized in 1957, is named

in his memory. The Andrew Miller Memorial United States Army Reserve Center at Silver Creek

Park in Manitowoc was named for him in 1961. The Andrew Miller historical marker was

dedicated during Memorial Day ceremonies at the Manitowoc County Veterans Memorial on

May 31, 1999. The marker was erected by the Manitowoc County Historical Society in

cooperation with the Manitowoc County United Veterans Council.

Manitowoc County residents are encouraged to visit the Andrew Miller marker at Manitowoc

County Veterans Park on N. 18th Street in Manitowoc to learn more about this local World War

II hero and to honor the other brave men and boys who paid the ultimate price in service to their

country.

Photo: Andrew Miller

July 6, 2020
Question: Which organization was the Billy Schultz Circus originally a
                 fundraiser for?
Answer: Boy Scouts

Born in Manitowoc in 1880, William (Billy) G. Schultz became an outstanding acrobat and

aerialist. As an adult he traveled the world as a performer known as Billy Lester. He toured

with many circuses and musical comedy companies including the Ringling Brothers Circus .

After retiring from the circus world, Billy and his family made Manitowoc their home where he

worked as a janitor at Washington Junior High School. While there, Billy was approached by

the Boy Scouts to put on a circus. The Boy Scout Circus premiered in 1925 and was held again

in 1926.

Billy then started a free circus training school in Manitowoc. The first circus performance was in

1929 for the city’s “Manito-ween” Halloween celebration. Schultz’s clown school quickly grew

into a full-blown circus academy, with classes in everything from trapeze work to face paint.

Boys and girls ages 10 to 27 were eligible, and the school was so popular that Schultz had to

limit enrollment to 65 students per year. Within five years, his graduates were so well-regarded

that major circuses regularly visited Manitowoc to recruit talent. NBC broadcast his circus

nationwide, Paramount Pictures produced a movie called “Unusual Occupations”, and Life

Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post published articles.

Through Billy Schultz’s efforts, Manitowoc became one of the major American centers for

training circus performers. Billy Schultz passed away in 1957.

Photo: Two clowns of Billy Schultz Circus putting on makeup for a tv segment for NBC. MCHS 2012.1.53.

June 29, 2020

 

Question:

What group is credited with resurrecting the first library for Manitowoc?

Answer:  Clio Club

In 1868, town leader K.K. Jones donated a lot and a building on York Street for the area’s first semi-public library. Circulation privileges were given to members who paid a yearly or lifetime fee. During the next several years, the Jones Library Association began to develop a book purchasing fund and a librarian. The old home fell into disrepair and closed its doors until a women’s group – the Clio Club, took over its care. The club then lobbied leading businessmen and city fathers in order to convert the collection into a free public library. Three of the leading women on this effort were Mrs. William Rahr (of the malting family), Mrs. Lyman Nash (of the

local printing business), and Mrs. James S. Anderson (wife of the county judge). The approach was successful and the city agreed to take over the library with tax support, and secured new rooms above the post office, adjacent to the river on North Eighth Street. A citizen committee applied to the Andrew Carnegie fund and received money to build a new library in 1902. 

 

Photo: Manitowoc Public Library, NW corner of North 8th and Chicago. MCHS 93.3.10.

June 22, 2020

 

Question: What was the name of the street car, or interurban, that

connected Manitowoc and Two Rivers?

Answer:  The Manitowoc and Two Rivers Railway

In 1899, tracks were completed by the Manitowoc Traction Company and the first electric trolley

connected the downtown depots of Manitowoc and Two Rivers.

Photo: Black & white - Manitowoc & Northern Traction cars at N. 18th Street and New York

Avenue waiting to transport people back to town from the fairgrounds. MCHS 2007.60.2a.

June 15, 2020

 

Question: Who was elected as the City of Manitowoc’s first mayor following

the approval of the city charter in 1870?

Answer:  Peter Johnston

Less than one month after the charter was approved, Manitowoc elected its first mayor, Peter

Johnson. He presided over the construction of the city’s first iron bridge, the creation of a new

cemetery, sanitary cisterns for fresh water, and city sewers. One of the most important new city

departments, however, was the recently expanded fire department, which purchased several

horse-drawn engines during 1871 just in time for the greatest fire of the century.

Photo: Manitowoc, 1868

June 8, 2020

 

Question: When prohibition took hold, several breweries in Manitowoc formed

a new organization called what?

Answer:  Manitowoc Products Company

Kunz, Blesser and Company joined with Rahr Brewery to form the Manitowoc Products

Company around 1920. In 1924, the company name was changed again – this time to

Kingsbury Brewery.

Photo: Rahr Malting Co. from shoreline looking west. Also shows tracks. MCHS 57.66.23.

June 1, 2020

 

Question: Edmund J. Smalley came to Manitowoc just before the Civil War in 1857.

With his blacksmith training, he started a company focusing on what type of product?

Answer: Farm equipment.

Edmund J. Smalley was a dealer in farm equipment, tractors, and reapers from newly booming companies as John Deere and McCormick. Realizing that the equipment manufactured by these large companies did not provide all the farmers’ needs, he began the Smalley Manufacturing Company. Along with his 2 sons, Smalley began to produce smaller feed cutters, burr mills, corn shellers, and root and vegetable cutters. In 1893 the Smalley’s submitted samples of their patented equipment for a display at the Chicago World’s Fair and received an award that placed them on the map for the “general excellence of… farm machinery”

Photo: Smalley Manufacturing plate

May 25, 2020

Question: What is the name of the man who started an aluminum plant in Manitowoc

                 and called it the Aluminum Specialty Company?

Answer: Henry Vits

In 1895 the Aluminum Manufacturing Company of Two Rivers was established by Joseph Koenig. Several years later, in 1898, Henry Vits, a tanner from Manitowoc, opened the Aluminum Specialty Company. Just after 1900, the Two Rivers and Manitowoc companies merged with a New Jersey aluminum venture to form the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company, which began to manufacture aluminum cookware, pots, and pans. 

Photo: BW of a production line at Aluminum Specialty in Manitowoc for 20mm links for the Navy. 

May 18, 2020

QuestionWhat was the first railroad line to reach Manitowoc?

AnswerMilwaukee Road and Chicago’s Northwestern Railroad

The first railroad line reached Manitowoc in the fall of 1873, four years after the continent was spanned by the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. In early 1873, the line to Sheboygan was completed with the Milwaukee Road and Chicago’s Northwestern Railroad. Seven months later, on September 24, Manitowoc had a railroad. One year later the branch to Two Rivers, six additional miles, was also completed.  Ironically the first train locomotive engine to arrive in Manitowoc came not by rail, but two years earlier by steamship. In 1871 a large schooner brought a train engine to the Manitowoc warf where it sat for display and inspection until the railroad tracks reached town to utilize it.

May 11, 2020

QuestionWhat is the name of Manitowoc’s native son who was sworn in as

                 the governor for Wisconsin in 1862?

Answer: Edward Salomon

In 1862, as the Civil War lengthened into a long and bloody battle, Wisconsin’s governor’s race brought a young Manitowoc leader, Edward Salomon, into the forefront of state politics. Edward became the Republican Party nominee at the age of 33 and was elected lieutenant governor of Wisconsin in November 1862. Following the election, Governor Louis P. Harvey took a journey to visit troops in Tennessee. He drowned during a storm in the Tennessee River. When the news reached Manitowoc, Salomon was sworn in a governor after serving less than three months as second in command.

During his tenure as governor, Salomon became a skilled leader in dealing with the difficult questions of draft riots and Indian scares.

May 4, 2020

Question: What were the men given before they left Manitowoc to fight in the Civil War?

AnswerA Flag

The first band of county volunteers to answer the call to fight in the Civil War left Manitowoc just

two months after the Confederates attached Fort Sumter in South Carolina. They left on June

 

23, 1861. The red, white, and blue flag, with the words “Manitowoc County Volunteers” was

presented to the men shortly before they left for training in Madison during a ceremony at what

is now Union Park. The blue and red silks used to make the flag were purchased in Chicago but

no white silk was available because flag material had been bought up at the onset of the war.

According to one soldier’s account, the white in the flag was obtained from a soon-to-be bride

who donated the material she had purchased for her bridal gown. The Manitowoc County

Guards later became Company A, fifth Wisconsin Infantry. Miraculously, the flag survived many

Civil War battles, and it currently on display at the Manitowoc County Historical Society.

Of the 104 men that originally left, only 36 returned home. 23 were killed, 27 were seriously

wounded, and the rest were reported missing.

April 27, 2020

Question: ​What was the first newspaper published in Manitowoc?

AnswerThe Manitowoc County Weekly Herald

The Manitowoc County Weekly Herald

In November 1850 the Manitowoc County Herald, owned by Charles W. Fitch, put out its first

issue. Fitch, a native of New Jersey, was only 31 years old when he moved to Manitowoc,

having already purchased a used printing machine from the Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin

paper, which arrived on the ship Champion. Fitch announced that his paper would be “liberally

Democratic” and would support the exclusion of slavery from the free states, a hot topic in

national politics at the time. The Herald was the only newspaper for about 5 years until its rival,

the Manitowoc Weekly Tribune, begin in 1855. It was published by S.W. Smith, who had just

joined the new Republican Party.

April 20, 2020

Question: ​What is the name of the first ship to be constructed in Manitowoc?

AnswerThe Citizen

In 1847, the Citizen became the first ship constructed in Manitowoc. Captain Joseph Edwards

built the 60-ton schooner at a cost of $3,000 right in the city’s harbor. The ship carried lumber to

other ports in Lake Michigan before going down in a storm 10 years later.

April 13, 2020

Question: ​The County seat was originally in Manitowoc Rapids. What incident led to discussions of the county seat changing to Manitowoc? 

Answer: Fire at the Courthouse and Jail

The settlement at Manitowoc Rapids remained the designated county seat until 1853, when the site was changed to Manitowoc. Manitowoc Rapids and Manitowoc were rivals.

Following the fire that destroyed the first Manitowoc County courthouse and jail, pioneer resident Jacob Conroe soon began plans for the construction of a new courthouse in Manitowoc Rapids. But residents in the Village of Manitowoc were interested in bringing the county seat there. Benjamin Jones, a Village of Manitowoc leader, was determined to make that happen. According to a newspaper article by John Harmon, Jones “personally visited each and every supervisor and presented his plan. Angry Manitowoc Rapids residents shouted ‘skulldugery’ at the top of their collective lungs.”

Jones succeeded in his efforts and the county seat was moved to the Village of Manitowoc in May, 1853. The Dusold building became a temporary county board meeting site, at the corner of Jay and Seventh Street in Manitowoc, for a rental fee of $30 a year, until a new Courthouse was constructed in 1857, located on the southwest corner of Washington and South 8th Street in Manitowoc.

April 6, 2020

Question: What was the first official “street” laid out for the City of Manitowoc?

Answer: Chicago “street”​​

 

By early 1837 a boat of 40 prospective settlers arrived, carried north of the lake schooner Elwellyn. Some of the area’s oldest families are descended from these arrivals who first came to the crude village and lived in one of these early log cabins. Oliver C. Hubbard, D.S. Munger, Moses Hubbard, Benjamin Jones and others all built their homes near “Chicago Street”, which was laid out by the first settlers – who were Chicago Investors. 

March 30, 2020 

 

Questions: Who is considered the Father of the City of Manitowoc?

Answer: Benjamin Jones.

The Manitowoc Land Company was formed in 1836 by Chicago Investors led by the team of William and Benjamin Jones (brothers). The company bought more than 2,000 acres and arranged for a team of mean to begin to plat a future town site near the mouth of the Manitowoc River. However, of the large amount of men assigned to the task, only 5 were hardy enough to begin the chore. The rest were frightened by the dark pine forests and forbidding wilderness and walked down the beach back to Sheboygan and on to Chicago. 

 

About Ben Jones:

Benjamin Jones was both in Massachusetts in 1795. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the War of 1812. He moved to Chicago in 1833 and became a successful merchant.

 

Mr. Jones began speculating in land and purchased about 2,000 acres of timber land at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. Upon his arrival in 1837, he set up lumber mills, shipping the product to Chicago. His was the first house erected in Manitowoc where his daughter was the first white child born in the county.

 

Benjamin Jones was a generous man donating sites for parks, schools and churches in Manitowoc. The present Washington and Union parks as well as the old Madison school grounds were his gifts.

 

His only son, Hon. A.D. Jones, was mayor of Manitowoc from 1872 to 1877; city clerk from 1878 to 1881; and served one term as county registrar of deeds in 1881-1882.

 

After a long and successful business career in Manitowoc dealing in real estate, millwork, and other business enterprises, "Uncle Ben", as he was affectionately known, died and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Chicago in 1881.

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