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May 12, 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.

May 19, 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 27, 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. 

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