Early days of Racine
; 1 *W?J , ' thfce Hew , Bid- $%*£%&& *• "— ; Chica , - ^ -*-i^ t »"-; W r '* * * . enugraUoncompaisy, .-JJ-^_-«_ tV- mKUiK w* •- •••*&• r ^ • T * . ** 'I omuaiud tie jrevious'winter; in /WweiToonnty. N.Y., represent-.- cVrfhSV «8,000 in robscriptioOT of stocks in tarte *f f W -each. Four hundred shares rtr* tobflCiibed and paid for, the funds so raised tone invested in real Estate suitable for--*; town -site. Many persons of small aeaas, who desired to find new homes in the rest, became shareholders. Old men and roa»g men, and even unmarried women employed as house servants, put their small warnings into shares. Milwaukee was first fixed upon as fhe point of the committees destination, that being the Only place then definitely known between Chicago and Green Bay as settled by white nhabitants. From Milwaukee they were directed to explore either north or south along ;he shore as they might judge best. They took $2,800 of the company money with them, and were allowed one dollar a day while on actual duty; crossing lake Erie to Detroit the three explorers found their way » Chicago, without however possessing any intentions of settling here. This was then a ragged settlement, though then, as now, and in all coming time, destined to be tbe grand entrepot of the northwest. Most of our visitors of that day made Chicago only a stopping place, and sought investments at newer points elsewhere, because the passion was then for wild land, and thousands of dollars passed by the new subdivisions of Chicago from the canal lands, to buy of the government at ten shillings an acre, each hoping to found a town on h& purchase. There w»s no road to Milwaukee, the journey between Lhe two points being performed on horseback along Indian trails. : Our three New Yorkers took to the beech Of the lake, and while thus journeying were able to signal a small passing sail crafc,steer- ing northward, and BO came to Milwaukee. But lots were too high for them there, notwithstanding the embryo city presented only a small collection of cabins sheltering a mixed population of whites and Indians. They learned that there were still to be found promising shore localities along the route of Iheir journey from, Chicago, unoccupied by claimants, and they returned southward, exploring carefully, with a view to harbor facilities. At Root river they found captain Gilbert Knapp and Messrs. Barber and Hubhard in possession, but willing to sell out to them for the sum of $2,700, a claim to what Is now the principal part of our beautiful little sister city, Racine. Here began the real difficulties of the committee. A bargain was struck, and the $2,700 placed in the hands of a third party, judge D. P. Huginin, who for judicious safe-keeping sent it to the nearest bank, at Chicago, George Smith's. The purchase of Racine ultimately failed, and with it expired the functions of the committee, John Bullen, jr. being chosen sole agent of the company. In the spring of 183f Bullen came out, and, abandoning the Root river affair, carried his explorations further south, finally fixing upon Pike Creek, known by that name to all the early Indian traders and early adventurers west of Lake Michigan. It was afterwards called Pike, which was its first poetoffice desist ation in 1836. And here the claims of the Western Emigration company were laid in June, 1835. This town of Pike is one of the extinct settlements of that period. Every vestige has disappeared of the once ambitious little town, and probably there are multitudes of citizens in Kenosha who would need to have the locality pointed out, one mile north of their present harbor, where for three or four years stood the formidable and troublesome rival of Southport, the first name of Kenosha. The for* mer once had dwellings, stores, mechanic^ shops, warehouses. One of these l&tter, built by William N. Seymour, was one hun« dred and twenty feet in length, and when Pike had succumbed to the unequal struggle, it was carried piecemeal over to the con« struction of the victorious rival. Pike river fixed upon, fifteen New York families came to Chicago during the summer of 1835.