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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Soul Saving and Lead Smelting

Editor's Note:

At the time that Rev. Marsh passed through the Wisconsin Lead Region, that industry had attracted thousands of new settlers to work the mines. For an overview, see the short essay "Lead Mining in Southwestern Wisconsin" at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. Links there include a classic memoir by Moses Meeker, a review of 150 years of lead mining in the region by Reuben Gold Thwaites, and an 1829 map of the settlements and mines.


Mon. [Sept.] 8th


Attended to some secular business, obtained some money of Capt. Comstock, and received of Mr. H. a sum of money.


In the eve[ning] had a little meeting at Dr. Newhall's. Mrs. N. a very fine lady. I addressed those present upon the words, "It is high time that we awoke out of sleep, etc." It seemed like the place where two or three had met together in the name of Christ. Christians seemed somewhat interested and affected.


At this place met with a Mr. Aitkin who had spent some years in the Chippewa country, and had wintered one winter at Pembina. Mr. A. a professor of religion and an interesting man.


Rev. Mr. R.'s Church consists of 37 members, some live out in the country; besides his S.S. [Sabbath School] there is also a Tem[perance] Soc[iety]. Mr. R. is very indefatigable in his labors and does not confine them to his own people but travels thro' the whole region. He greatly needs someone more in the vicinity to aid him in his arduous labors of publishing salvation.


A pious shoemaker is also needed, which he wished to have sent out there.


Visited in company with Mr Aitkin the cupola smelting furnace, owned by an Englishman and an American. It is a large building and has two furnaces; at each 35 hund[red] lbs. are made in a day or 72 hund[red] = equal 3 1/2 tons and 2 hundred lb. over. It is kept in operation night and day by two sets of workmen. The furnace is changed 3 times in a day and 17 hund[red] lb. of ore are put in at each time. This is melted in the furnace and the place at which it is discharged is stopped up by means of lime mortar, and when the one is all melted the orifice is broken open, and the melted lead runs out, looking red as fire, into a kettle. And then is dipped out with ladles into moulds each containing 60 or 70 lb. each.


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