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Amherst to Troy, New York during that year. He did not graduate from Union, however, and there is no record of the time he left there. He subsequently engaged in the study of law at Troy, where he was admitted to the bar. He must have come West very soon thereafter, for on June 2, 1836, before he was twenty-three years old, he arrived at Racine then called Root River-by the Great Lakes route, on the steamboat Pennsylvania. From this day forth to the day of his death he was closely and continuously identified with the interests of the community and commonwealth which he had chosen as the field of his life work.
Although Gilbert Knapp, the founder of Racine, staked out his claim comprising the original plat of the city in November, 1834, settlement did not begin thereon until the spring of 1835. During this year half a dozen frame buildings and a few log houses were erected. The arrivals during the spring of 1836 did not add greatly to the population of the village, and it was therefore an undeveloped, pioneer settlement to which young Strong came, and to whose fortunes he joined his own on that June day in the second year of Racine's history. There was nothing that invited to ease or pleasure in the immediate prospect, and only the man with vision and a will to work-only the true pioneer-could be attracted by what it held in prospect.
Mr. Strong was the first lawyer who settled in Racine County, and there were few in the state who preceded him. Soon after his arrival he formed a partnership with Stephen N. Ives, and a general store was opened under the name of Strong and Ives, from which it may be inferred that there was little or no demand for the services of a lawyer at that stage of the settlement's growth. Charles E. Dyer, in his historical address, states that Judge Frazer, territorial justice, was the first judge who presided in April, 1837 over a court of record in Racine County, and that only eight days were occupied by the court in the three terms held there in the first eighteen months of its existence.
In the absence of positive record it seems probable that Mr. Strong continued as senior partner of the village store until the increasing demands of his profession required all of his time. This change must have come about comparatively early, for the troubled years from 1837 to 1839 brought many disputes between the settlers over the boundaries of their respective claims. It is a matter of record that Strong's legal ability was often invoked in the composition of these disputes. In June, 1837 a wide-reaching organization of the settlers of southeastern Wisconsin was formed, the object of which was the mutual protection of the settlers in their claims, and in fixing the boundary lines between them. All were trespassers in the eyes of the law, and it required wise counsel, as well as firm purpose and concerted action, to enforce fair dealing by those who were otherwise disposed. Gilbert Knapp was the president of this organization, and Marshall M. Strong was a member of the committee which drafted its constitution. It included a judicial committee, or court, before which all cases were heard and all disputes definitely and finally settled. It was government by the people without the sanction of written law, but with the force of a practically unanimous public opinion, and as a temporary expedient it worked well.
Mr. Strong married Amanda Hawks of Troy, New York, on May 27, 1840, and brought her to his home in Wisconsin, where he was rapidly making a place and name for himself. Three children were born to them, one of whom-Robertdied in infancy. Before six years of their married life had passed, a devastating shadow fell across the path of Mr. Strong. On January 27, 1846, while he was at Madison attending a session of the territorial council, of which he was a member, his home in Racine was destroyed by fire and his entire family, consisting of wife and two children, perished in the flames. The children were Henry, aged four years and ten months, and Juliet, aged nine months.
The appalling tragedy shocked the community and the Territory as perhaps no similar occurrence had ever done, and the profound sympathy of all citizens went out to the stricken husband and father.
The next day Albert G. Knight, a friend of Mr. Strong, undertook to convey to him at Madison the news of his bereavement and bring him home; there being no railroad he made the trip with his own horses and sleigh. On arrival at the capitol he found Mr. Strong addressing the Council. At the conclusion of his argument he was given the distressing news, when without a word he put aside his business, secured his wraps and effects, and accompanied Mr. Knight on the return trip, sitting with bowed head and speaking scarcely at all during the two full days that it consumed. Both houses of the legislature passed appropriate resolutions and adjourned.1
During the last dozen years I have talked with a number of people, all now dead, who lived in Racine in 1846 and were witnesses of the fire and its tragic ending. One of these was Mrs. Margaret Lewis, mother of ex-Alderman John H. Lewis, who died very recently. In 1846 she was a maid in the home of lawyer Edward G. Ryan, later chief justice of the supreme court of Wisconsin, who lived in the house at the northeast corner of Seventh and Chippewa streets, which is still standing and in fairly good condition. Marshall M. Strong was his next-door neighbor on the north, the buildings being not more than thirty feet apart. Mrs. Lewis, who at the time was sixteen years of age, witnessed all of the terrifying incidents connected with the burning of Mr. Strong's house and the death of his wife and children on that winter night, and they made a very deep impression
The information contained in this paragraph was secured a few years ago from Mrs. Albert G. Knight, who is now dead. She stated that it was the supreme court where her husband found Mr. Strong engaged, but reference to contemporary Madison papers shows that it was the Council, to which Mr. Strong belonged. Mrs. Knight told me that her husband had a great admiration for Mr. Strong, and spoke of him often in terms of affection and high praise.-Author.
on her mind, the recollection of them being vivid until the day of her death in 1913.
Bereft of his entire family at the age of thirty-three, Mr. Strong was deeply afflicted, and for a time bore the distressing burden silently and alone. The passing weeks, however, mitigated the poignancy of his sorrow, and he returned with something of his usual cheerfulness and vigor to his professional and political duties. The new and very important work connected with the deliberations of the first constitutional convention, of which he was a member, and into which, in the fall of 1846, he threw himself wholeheartedly, was no doubt a beneficent factor in the healing of his stricken life.
On September 19, 1850, he married Emilie M. Ullmann of Racine, daughter of Isaac J. Ullmann, a banker. There were born of this union two sons and one daughter. Ullmann Strong was born June 30, 1851; was educated at Yale, where he graduated in 1873; practised law in Chicago until 1900, when he retired, and now lives at Summit, New Jersey. Henry Strong was born September 22, 1853, and died October 23, 1912. He was engaged in the lumber business at Kansas City, Missouri. Fannie A. Strong was born April 17, 1860, and died February 24, 1911. Emilie Ullmann Strong, the wife and mother, survived her husband forty-seven years, and died April 19, 1911. Ullmann Strong is the only member of the family now living. His generous response to my request for information for the purposes of this sketch is hereby gratefully acknowledged.
Mr. Strong was a consistent and constant friend of education during all of his life. He was one of the incorporators of the Racine Seminary, with whose subsequent history I am not familiar. On April 5, 1842, he was elected, with Lyman K. Smith and Eldad Smith, father of Mrs. John G. Meachem, member of the first board of school commissioners of the town of Racine. This board, and its
successors until 1853, had entire charge of school management and the collection and disbursement of school funds, the sources of which were in the management and disposition of the school section lands. In 1893 Col. John G. McMynn, in a letter to H. G. Winslow, then city superintendent of schools, paid a high compliment to Marshall M. Strong, A. C. Barry, and others for their capable and wise management of the public schools of Racine previous to 1852.
Mr. Strong was one of the incorporators and a member of the first board of trustees of Racine College in 1852, and continued an enthusiastic supporter of the institution all of his life thereafter. He and Dr. Elias Smith were influential in securing from Charles S. Wright and Isaac Taylor the gift of the original ten acres of land on which the college buildings are located. In 1853 he was a member of the faculty as a lecturer on political science. In an historical sketch of Racine College by Horace Wheeler, A.M., an alumnus, a high tribute is paid to its Racine friends and patrons, a number of whom he listed, adding, “and Marshall M. Strong, Esq., who was not only a large contributor, but whose counsel and personal efforts down to the day of his death were of inestimable value."
Mr. Strong was not only the first lawyer in Racine, but he tried and won the first lawsuit in Racine County, which grew out of a competitive squirrel hunt in which he was leader of one side and Norman Clark of the other. It had been agreed that all kinds of game should be hunted; a squirrel to count a certain number of points, a muskrat another, a deer's head 300, and a live wolf 1000; trophies to be obtained by fair means or foul. Two of the party heard of a deer hunter at Pleasant Prairie who had a good collection of heads, and they stealthily set out for them and got them. Meanwhile Mr. Strong's party heard of a live wolf in Chicago. It was sent for, but while being brought to