Website offers links to local history
Readers who want to learn more about local history can visit a website devoted entirely to Waupaca County.
As a link in the national USGenWeb Project, www.wigenweb.org/waupaca outlines the history of Waupaca County and offers access to a wide range of information.
The site has dozens of sub-directories, including Beginning Genealogy, Census Records, City/Village History, Historical Sites, Land Records, Maps, Military, Museums and Historical Societies and more.
For example, the following newspaper account about New London and the Wolf River was found on the WiGenWeb website, written by a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter who traveled into central Wisconsin in 1855 to find new developments in the region. The story was picked up by the Weyauwegan newspaper and was published March 7, 1856.
In March 2003, 147 years later, it was transcribed and submitted to the Waupaca County website (wigenweb.org/waupaca) by Paula Vaughan, the volunteer county coordinator for this website.
“New London, Waupaca Co., is 20 miles from Appleton, and situated on Wolf River, at the mouth of the Embarrass, and is the head of navigation of the Wolf. The Wolf, at this point, is some 15 rods wide, and from 12 to 14 feet deep, and makes a fine curve as it passes through the town. Both the Wolf and the Embarrass are remarkably crooked streams, and at this point they seem to have been vieing with each other in describing circles and zigzag courses.
In a bend of the Embarrass near its junction with the Wolf, was formerly an Indian burial ground and corn field. On the sacred spot, where but a few years since the red man of the forest held undisputed sway, and the camp-fires burned brightly, illuminated the dark thickets that surrounded them and casting their mellow light upon the glassy surface of the Wolf as its deep waters swept so gracefully around the hallowed spot of earth containing the dust of their warriors, and chiefs, and fathers, may now be seen a thriving town just emerging from the wilderness, with its Pearl, South Pearl and State Streets, and so on throughout a long list of appropriately named streets.
Although New London is only a two year old, yet it has already attained to quite a manly growth; and posses all the elements necessary to a vigorous manhood. It contains three hotels, four dry goods, grocery and hardware stores, one tin shop, two blacksmith shops, one steam saw mill, two ware-houses, three carpenter shops, one large tannery, a good boarding house, and a post-office, of which Wm. McMillin, Esq. an intelligent, energetic and worthy Scotchman, is postmaster, and furnished me on a short notice with some 10 or 12 subscribers for the Sentinel.
Excellent farming lands may be obtained in abundance for a great distance up both the Wolf and Embarrass rivers, at government prices, presenting a fine opportunity for the enterprising pioneer to grow up with the country, and prosper, as all must with the immense tide of immigration now flowing into our state.
Roads are opening in every direction, and but a few years will pass before there will be a railroad built … connecting the whole northwestern portion of the state with its commercial emporium and the east.
New London will possess, during the coming season, an uninterrupted communication with Oshkosh, 60 miles below, by a daily line of steamboats. Large supplies of merchandise, produce and lumber will seek a transit through navigation of the Wolf and all will conspire to make this point a place of some considerable business at no distant day. Reeder Smith possesses quite a large landed interest here and with his usual energy at pioneering is doing much towards building up the town.
The Pineries, on the Little Wolf and its branches, present just now a scene of busy life. There reverberating blows of an axe-man, in felling the tall pines, the continuous buzz of the “cross cuts” in manufacturing them into logs and the cheerful notes of the woodsman as he rolls three or four massive “cuts” upon his “bobs” and starts his team of three or four yoke of oxen for the banks of the river, made fine music these frosty days.
The Moore Brothers are manufacturing at their mills at North Royalton, on the Little Wolf about 10,000 feet of lumber daily, and the river is full of logs for some distance above the dam. The Mieklejohns, a few miles farther up, are doing a fine business in the manufacturing of lumber. They have recently erected a grist mill at that point.”