« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
paid during the progress of the work. remainder on completion thereof."
Having disposed of the matter of the contract for the edifice the directors met again on the first day of January, 1851, and had before them for consideration the draft of a proposed charter which they intended to ask from the legislature at its session, which was soon to be held. At this meeting William S. Brockway and Dana F. Shepard were also present, and participated in the proceedings, being two of the men added, in the proposed draft of charter, to the collegiate board. The draft was taken up article by article and found satisfactory. There then remained but the one item of business, that of filling the blank as to the name of the college, to be inserted in the corporate name. "On motion of Mr. Northrup, the Honor of giving a name to the College was put up at auction. Bidding spirited. Finally struck off to Mr. Brockway for $25 donation. Thereupon on motion of Mr. Bovay it was unanimously resolved to call our institution Brockway College."
This matter having been determined the charter was taken to Madison, and was enacted into law as Chapter 24 of the Laws of 1851, the same being approved by the governor, Nelson Dewey, January 29, 1851. This legislative charter created the nine former directors of the "Lyceum," with Alexander B. Beardsley, Edward L. Runnals, William Starr, and Messrs. Brockway and Shepard, together with the "President of the Collegiate Faculty for the time being, and their successors" as a body corporate under the name of the "Board of Trustees of Brockway College." The purpose of such corporation was declared to be: "To found, establish and maintain at Ripon . . . an Institution of Learning of the highest order, embracing also a department for preparatory instruction."
The first meeting of the trustees of Brockway College was held March 3 following the creation of the charter, and
elected officers of the board. The same men were elected who headed the old "Lyceum." The trustees then divided themselves into classes, one-third to go out of office the following July, one-third a year later, and the rest the third year. This done, they "proceeded to the site of the college building when on full examination of the grounds, and on returning to the public house it was resolved that the structure now under contract be located in the center of a certain Lot 16 rods by 8 to be conveyed by D. P. Mapes to Brockway College." At the same session authority was given to purchase two additional acres of ground from the Phalanx.
The lands being acquired, the "ground for the first building," so writes one who participated, "was staked out in a snow storm by three men, who together were probably not worth $15,000, and no part of that in ready money. Still the contracts were made and the walls of the building pushed up."
May 10, the secretary made the following entry in the record book:
LAYING CORNER STONE
Friday 4 P. M. A genial balmy day. Sun covered by opportune clouds. A small but hopeful company of Ladies & Gentlemen are collected on a 2 hour notice on the apex of College Hill. It is announced by D. P. Mapes Pres. pro. tem. of Brockway College that the corner stone of that Institution is now about to be laid and a copy of the charter deposited under the same by the Master Builder Andrew Gill. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. Sherrill. The charter duly sealed was then deposited and the stone laid. After which addresses were made by Messrs. Mapes, Chase, Crawford and Bovay. Benediction by Mr. Sherrill & the company separated.
Although no provision had been made in the charter for the issuance of stock, the board wrestled with the question as to whether some stock interest ought not to be issued as an evidence of ownership for those who contributed to the enterprise. This was considered during at least three different meetings of the board, and finally an elaborate
plan was accepted for giving certificates in denominations of $5 each, bearing seven per cent interest payable in tuition; and all holders of $250 in stock were to be entitled to a perpetual free scholarship. Practically, subsequent events nullified this action.
During the summer the walls of the building went up the full three stories, when the work halted for lack of funds. As Mr. Bowen says in a brief historical article, at this point "the builders took a rest." He says further: "If the question were asked, what was intended to be done with that building, the replies of those who contributed might have differed widely. While some would have said that it was designed for a high school, others would have replied that it was built on purpose to entice settlers, that the proprietors might sell village lots. But whatever motives there may have been, one great one inspired all: the pioneers were bound to show their respect for education, and through dark days as well as sunshine, this love of education has never been quenched among our people."
January 17, 1852, the trustees held a meeting at which the reports were made as to the finances of the building. D. P. Mapes made a detailed statement of his own disbursements and charges on account of the college, crediting himself with lumber, subscription notes collected, and other items paid by him, showing his claim for a balance due him of $137.76. Mr.Bovay showed that he had paid out $178.33 more than he was charged with. E. L. Northrup in a similar manner was $93.69 out of pocket, besides the contributions made by him. There were other items reported outstanding unpaid. Evidently, without counting the above, the building had cost to that time, as reported by the secretary, $1,814.37, to which was added by a later memorandum of the secretary, $126 for lumber.
At this session we read: "Voted to memorialize the Regents of the University, and in failure of them, the
Legislature, to be admitted into connection with the University of Wisconsin and to be allowed the benefit of sharing in the university fund." No subsequent reference is made to the above minute, from which it is assumed that such memorial, if made, met with no success, for at the meeting of the board, July 28, 1852, the committee on auditing accounts was by vote: "Charged with the business of negotiating with the Presbyterian Society or any other Responsible Society or Individuals to take & finish the college and establish a school therein of a high order."
The record is silent for a full year. Dr. Merrell's sketch tells us what happened during that period, and I can do no better than to quote what he says: "Looking about for some religious denomination to take up the work, the trustees made overtures to the Winnebago District Convention of Presbyterian and Congregational Churches, proposing that this Convention assume one-half the debt, amounting in all to about $800, complete the college building and open a school in the spring of 1853. The Board offered to convey the entire property to the Convention when they should engage to meet the conditions. The proposition of the Board was conveyed to the Convention by the Rev. F. G. Sherrill, minister of the Congregational Church at Ripon. The ministers and churches of this Convention had the traditional instinct of Christian educators, and were not slow to respond to the overtures that seemed to come to them so providentially. But at this time the churches were very poor, and the failure of the wheat crop that year added to their distress. They could not assume additional burdens, however small. It chanced however, that the Rev. J. W. Walcott had recently come among them and was minister of the Congregational church at Menasha. He had been at the head of an academy in New York and had brought to the West a little money, the savings from his frugal life as a teacher. To him the Convention appealed,
asking him to assume the work of the new college, and practically hold it for the Convention until the churches should be able to take it off his hands and reimburse him the amount of what he should expend from his private funds. "After various negotiations the arrangement was made, Mr. Walcott purchasing from the Trustees the entire property. . . . Mr. Walcott immediately assumed control of affairs and began the work of fitting the college building for school purposes and of laying the foundations of 'an institution of the highest order.' Four rooms on the east side of the building were finished and furnished during the fall and winter of 1852-3 besides the hall, and the school was opened for instruction June 1, 1853. . . . Mr. Walcott purchased land adjacent to the original plat, so that now the campus has about eleven acres in all."
From the opening until 1855 the affairs of the school were in the hands of Mr. Walcott. The corporation held one more meeting under its charter, July 27, 1853. The secretary's record of that meeting shows an attempt to continue the corporation by election of trustees, and records the following unanimous action: "Resolved that in the opinion of the Board it is highly desirable and indispensable to the success of this institution that Mr. Walcott should at his earliest convenience come to reside in this community." The meeting was "held in the college edifice first story east room, a beautiful public school room, finished." The secretary makes the following quaint note in closing his official connection: "Session was a short one. No valedictory from the President. No speech making from anybody, although the occasion was one that would have justified it; there before and around us were the first visible fruits of our long, disinterested, unaided and much suspected efforts." This first building is the present East Building of the group of college buildings, although the original square