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earliest day possible, in order to meet the requirements of the immigration that began to surge into eastern Wisconsin in 1835, and was expected largely to increase, as it did, in 1836. It was hoped when they started that they might be able to reach Williamsport or Lafayette by steamboat.
On the twenty-seventh Garret Vliet passed from Merom through Middletown to Terre Haute. The party and effects were assembled there on the twenty-eighth, and on the twentyninth the party proceeded to Newport-William Miller, of Terre Haute, having been employed to haul the outfit and luggage to Williamsport, where they arrived the last day of January or first of February. There Chauncey Atkins was employed with his team, for further progress, he also appearing to have furnished provisions on the way. On February 2 they proceeded from Williamsport to Parish's Grove, crossed the Iroquois River at Montgomery's on the third, the Kankakee at McKibbons' on the fourth, were at Blue Island on the sixth, and arrived at Chicago that day or the next. There, on the eighth, some additions were made to the supplies and the party resumed their journey, probably on the same day, and arrived in Milwaukee on the eleventh, having been twenty or twenty-one days on the way.
They stopped at Childs' [inn] until the seventeenth, when they left, probably for the field. The surveys, completed July 10, 1836, were executed in the following order:
Town 8, range 20, the present town of Menomonee:
begun March 1, 1836; completed March 14. Town 7, range 21, the present town of Wauwatosa: begun March 24, 1836; completed April 3. Town 7, range 20, the present town of Brookfield: begun April 5, 1836; completed April 17. Town 7, range 19, the present town of Pewaukee:
begun April 18, 1836; completed April 30.
Town 9, range 20, the present town of Germantown:
Judge Alvin Burt was a prominent United States surveyor of the time-the same, I think, who was afterward the inventor of Burt's solar compass.
Town 8, range 19, the present town of Lisbon:
begun June 14, 1836; completed June 26.
begun June 29, 1836; completed July 10.
On the twenty-first of June, before the completion of these surveys, Mr. Vliet entered into an agreement with Samuel Frazey and Samuel Spivey, under which the latter undertook to "chop and clear 13-14 acres" in the west half of the northwest quarter of section 20, township 7, range 22—the title to which Mr. Vliet had previously acquired, together with that to the east half of the northeast quarter of section 19, at a cost of $1600all of which subsequently became the home farm. It lies between Ninth and Sixteenth streets, and extends from a little north of Walnut Street to North Avenue in the city of Milwaukee. This thirteen and a quarter acres consisted of a square ten acres in the southwest corner of the tract in which it lies, and an oblong piece adjoining the north side of this, five chains north and south and six and a half chains east and west, and extending two and a half chains farther east than the ten acres. The oblong piece at the north was intended to embrace the site of the future dwelling house. The adjoining ten acres, in the southeast corner of the tract, had been chopped over, the previous winter, for steamboat wood; it was, in the main, a black-ash swamp, inaccessible for summer chopping. These are believed to have been the first clearings in that part of the present city limits of Milwaukee lying west of Ninth Street and north of Walnut Street. Beyond was an unbroken forest.
Having completed the government surveys on the tenth of July, as before stated, Mr. Vliet left Milwaukee on the fourteenth on his return trip to Cincinnati, to report to the surveyor general and to rejoin his family. His route and mode of travel were as follows: on the "ship" Julia Palmer from Milwaukee to Chicago, and thence by stage to Michigan City, Indiana, July 17-18; South Bend, July 19; Logansport, July 20; Indianapolis, July 22; Richmond, Indiana, July 24; Eaton and Hamilton, Ohio, July 25; and thence to Cincinnati on canal packet boat-probably arriving
on the twenty-sixth of July. His memorandum book shows that the expense of this trip was thirty-three dollars.
On August 13, 1836, he sold to E. H. Lytle, of Cincinnati, the homestead farm of one hundred and sixty acres hereinbefore described, by contract, for sixteen thousand dollars, to be paid for in four equal annual installments, the first payable on the first of December, 1836, and the last on the first of December, 1839, with an additional one thousand dollars on the last date in lieu of all interest. A memorandum elsewhere in his little book shows that: "A Buchan [Buchanan?] Com. Merchant Water Street west of Main takes int. with E. H. L. [Lytle]."
Early in October following, he with G. W. Harrison entered into a contract with the surveyor general to survey the towns of Fort Madison and Burlington in the county of Des Moines; Belleview, Dubuque, and Peru in the county of Dubuque; and Mineral Point in the county of Iowa, in Wisconsin Territory, under the act of Congress of July 2, 1836. The special instructions of the surveyor general bear the date of October 9, 1836.
Consequently on the seventeenth of October he boarded the steamer Rienzi for St. Louis, arriving there probably on the twenty-third. About the time of leaving Cincinnati he made a memorandum of a "deed, 15th Feby 1836," from Thomas J. Payne to George Cannon, conveying a lot of land in St. Louis, fronting twenty-seven feet on the east side of Main Street and extending eighty feet along the south side of Florida Street, for the consideration of five hundred and forty dollars. It might be interesting to some one curious in such matters, to ascertain the present value of that lot. On the twenty-fourth he left St. Louis on the steamer Philadelphia for Peoria, Illinois, was there on the twenty-seventh, and proceeded thence by stage, arriving at Chicago on the twenty-ninth, and at Milwaukee on the thirtyfirst. The fare from Chicago to Milwaukee was $7.50, expenses $3.00; the entire trip from Cincinnati to Milwaukee cost $56.50. While in Milwaukee at this time he was offered sixteen thousand dollars for one-half of his intended farm, but could not accept, on account of the contract with Mr. Lytle.
After arranging some business matters in Milwaukee and employing Anthony D. Wisner and Aldridge C. Streight, trusted
assistants, to accompany him (probably on foot), he started November 4 from Milwaukee for Mineral Point, on horseback, to begin the surveys named in his contract. His route was by way of Prairie Village (now Waukesha), November 4; Meeker's, on Honey Creek, on the fifth; St. John's, at Rock River, on the sixth; Collins' Diggings, on the seventh; Blue Mounds, on the eighth. He reached Mineral Point at two o'clock on the ninth. The expenses of the trip were $10.00, not including those of Wisner and Streight. From Mineral Point he wrote to his family that he would be at home on or before the seventeenth of December.
By November 21 he had completed the survey of Mineral Point and settled his bills, including the payment of his assistants. On the twenty-second he started for Dubuque, taking Wisner and Streight with him. They arrived in Dubuque on the twenty-fifth. On the twenty-seventh they with Mr. Harrison, the associate of Vliet in the contract, were at Peru, one of the towns embraced in the contract, some six or eight miles above Dubuque. It was then, probably, fully determined to suspend the surveys until spring, for they returned to Dubuque and Mr. Vliet prepared for his homeward trip-still on horseback.
He left Dubuque November 29 and proceeded to Galena, Illinois. The next day he resumed his journey, his route being by way of Dixon's Ferry, December 1; Ottawa, December 4; Danville, Illinois, December 8-9; Crawfordsville, December 11; Indianapolis, December 13; Rushville, December 14; Connersville, December 15; Liberty, Indiana, December 16; and Hamilton and Springdale, Ohio, December 17. He arrived at Cincinnati on December 18, 1836-one day behind the time he had fixed in his letter from Mineral Point. The expenses of this trip were $39.06.
On his return he spoke of this winter trip on horseback as one of the most tedious of his life and sufficiently dangerous to be a source of anxiety, especially when crossing the prairies of Illinois. Settlements had not then extended onto the prairies, but were confined to the margins of groves where wood and water could be had. The roads were in some cases mere trails, liable to be obliterated by snow. Cases of freezing to death were not infrequent by reason of parties getting lost on the prairies, or becoming benumbed on the road. His stop for a day at Danville was
probably for the double purpose of recuperation and of visiting the Brazeltons, some of whom he had met in Milwaukee, and who, not long after, came to reside in the town of Granville.
At the time of his return the approaching great financial revulsion of 1837 was "casting its shadow before." Whether from this cause or some other, the land contract with Mr. Lytle fell through (I think it was from this cause). Several years later he seriously considered an offer to buy the property at forty dollars per acre. Had the sale to Mr. Lytle been consummated, it was the intention of my father to make his home on the southeast quarter of section 25, township 7, range 21, on which he had made a preëmption claim. This tract is now known as Merrill Park, Milwaukee.
On March 16, 1837, he entered into an individual contract with the surveyor general for the completion of the survey of the six townships in Iowa and southwest Wisconsin, before mentioned. The special instructions of the surveyor general, Robert T. Lytle, are dated March 21, 1837.
Here my data cease and the following is entirely from personal recollection. About the twenty-third of March, 1837, he started on the steamer Avalanche-I accompanying for St. Louis en route to Dubuque to resume the surveys. The Avalanche was a new boat, intended to outstrip all her predecessors. She ran over the falls at Louisville instead of through the canal. She took fire two or three times before we reached Cairo-to the consternation of the passengers. As we approached Cairo, the weather grew so hot that passengers divested themselves of coats and took shelter on the shady side of the boat outside of the cabin. Between Cairo and St. Louis the Missouri shore of the Mississippi consists largely of very high cliffs. Where valleys come down between them the passengers were on the lookout for buffalo, but none were seen. We had a passenger on board from the city of Washington-quite a politician and a wag. As we were passing one of the highest of these cliffs a fellow passenger inquired of him: "Mac, if you were up there, and a band of Indians on the other side, in pursuit of your scalp, what would you do?"