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parrots and monkeys were numerous on the banks of the stream, and to me it proved an interesting journey. At Greytown on the Atlantic, where we stayed all night, marks of the American bombardment the year before were still plentiful. Here we took passage on a steamer for New York where we arrived without special incident. At New York I stopped only long enough to exchange my gold (which I had carried in a belt) for coined money, and then set out by rail for the West. This was my first experience with railroad travel. From Chicago I took a train for Freeport, then the terminus of the Galena and Chicago Union, Chicago's first railroad. From Freeport to Fayette I traveled by stagecoach. It had taken me five months and eight days to cross the plains to California, and three weeks to return. Fifty years later I took the trip by rail, with my wife and daughter, in four days.



The following essay on the town of Newton is presented not as a finished piece of local history writing, but rather as an outline of significant facts derived from manuscripts and printed sources, which may serve as a skeleton to be clothed upon and rendered lifelike by a more or less extended process of local study. The criticism on local histories as customarily produced is that they are (a) unsystematic, illustrating only one, or a few, of the multiform interests which make up the complex of local community life; and (b) largely worthless, because the sources of information are chiefly vague recollections of the author or others interviewed by him, instead of being thoroughly documented. A third defect often noted is the absence of a feeling for general historical results, on the part of workers in the local field, which makes so much local history work comparatively barren.

With the vast collection of the primary sources of Wisconsin history filed at the State Historical Library, or available in Madison, it would be possible to prepare at that center an outline, similar to this one, on the history of every town in the state. In the first volume of the Wisconsin Domesday Book, now in course of preparation, we are bringing together the general materials on twenty-five selected towns. Some of these can be treated much more fully than I have treated Newton, for we have in the library much ampler data, and in most cases they will be in more extended form. There will be a plat or map showing the farms and farmers of 1860, with census data about the size, cultivation, value, and productions of the farms, also surveyors' notes descriptive of the land before it was settled; for 1860 there will be, also, a list of the inhabitants of

each town alphabetized according to heads of families as described in the census schedules, giving name of each person, age, nativity, and the occupations of adults. A general chart will supply comparative agricultural statistics, from the manuscript census schedules, for the periods 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Another chart will display similar statistics taken from the printed state census for the periods 1885, 1895, and 1905. The main facts about the political history of all the towns will occupy another chart. There will be a general introduction in which historical problems emerging from the comparative study of the twenty-five towns will be discussed.

A reading of the subjoined sketch of Newton will convince the discriminating student that much remains to be done on almost every phase of the history. A part of the work will be in the nature of a study of local records-of the town, the school districts, the churches, and those nearby newspapers which reflected best, at different periods, the life of this community. Of course, the leaders in the distinctive lines of endeavor-farming, politics, teaching, and especially morals and religion-will have to be identified on the ground and studied as opportunity offers; here is a place for the interview with old men and women, also for the study of business records, private diaries, letters, and so forth. One entire section of the town history, and that by far the most important, will deal with moral, intellectual, and spiritual conditions. That is wholly left for the local researcher because general sources are too meager to help us much along these lines.

A splendid opportunity for good work will be found in tracing the antecedents of individuals or groups, making clear the conditions out of which they came, the circumstances inducing emigration from the old home and settlement in the new; the education and special training of the pioneer settlers, their personal characters and social ideals, are elements to be stressed in the study.

There are numbers of rural towns in Wisconsin, as well as villages and cities, whose history deserves to be written in the large and published for the benefit of their own children as well as for the benefit of the state. The time seems ripe for a movement to secure a good many individual town histories, especially since every community is anxious now to honor its soldiers, living and dead; and the State Historical Society is prepared to help in the manner indicated herein, and in all other practicable ways.



The town of Newton occupies township 18 north of range 23 east, in the southeastern part of Manitowoc County, five miles southwest of Manitowoc. It lies in part on the shore of Lake Michigan, the lake cutting off portions of sections 36, 25, and 24, grazing also the southeast corner of section 13 (see plat). The surface is undulating and it is well watered throughout, the principal streams being Silver Creek, Yellow Creek, and Paint Creek, all flowing southeast into Lake Michigan.

Originally, the town was practically covered with a dense forest growth which included birch, linn, sugar maple, ash, cedar, elm, alder, beech, with some pine and tamarack in the swamps, also some oak, especially on the higher parts. The swamps were rather extensive while the country was still forest-covered, as shown by the surveyor's notes;1 yet the township averages high in first-class land, and none of it was described as poorer than second-class. The soil near the lake was light, but yet fertile, while most of the balance was heavier and very productive when cleared. Much of the wet land was automatically reclaimed by removing the covering of timber.

1 The township was surveyed in 1834 by Byron Kilbourn, who became famous as one of the founders of Milwaukee and president of the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad Company.

But there were no prairies or "openings," the whole requiring the heavy labor and expense of clearing, which helps to explain the comparative slowness of agricultural development in the town. While most of the land was purchased as early as 1848, in which year seventy-seven entries were made, the census of 1860 shows that few of the farms were opened to more than half their acreage by that time, and that many were only well begun (Wisconsin Domesday Book-"Farms and Farmers of 1860"). Computations based on the agricultural statistics of the three census periods, 1860, 1870, and 1880, give the following results: In 1860 Newton had 228 farms, containing a total of 5,150 acres improved land and a total of 8,749 acres unimproved land. In other words, the average farm had 22 acres improved and 38 acres unimproved. This "average farm" would be valued at $541, its implements and machinery at $33. The suppositious average farmer owned one third of a horse, 1 ox, 1 cow, 1 head of "other cattle," 2 swine, one-third of a sheep, and his total livestock was valued at $64. He produced 16 bushels of wheat, 44 of rye, no corn, 46 of oats, 9 of peas, 45 of Irish potatoes, and 4 of barley. He made 57 pounds of butter, and put up 2 tons of hay.

In 1870 the number of farms was 218, a decrease of 10. The improved land amounted to 8,401 acres, the unimproved to 6,813, showing that more wild land was now included in the farms, even while the farms were growing fewer in number, thus increasing the acreage by a double process. The average farm now contained 38 improved acres and 31 unimproved. It was valued at $2,066. The value of implements and machinery was $86. There was, to each farm, on the average, 1 horse and half an ox, 2 cows, 1 "other cattle," 3 sheep, 2 swine, a total livestock valuation of $315. The average farm now produced 110 bushels of wheat, 40 of rye, no corn, 109 of oats, 28 of potatoes, 24

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