Term: Mapes, David Parshall 1798 - 1890
founder of Ripon, businessman, politician, b. Coxsackie, N.Y. He engaged in various enterprises in the East and served one term in the New York legislature. During the 1830's he operated a lumber mill in New York City and then engaged briefly in steamboating on the Hudson River. In 1844 he moved to Wisconsin, settling in Racine where he operated a hotel. About 1845 he purchased land on the present site of Ripon and engaged in farming until 1849 when he purchased more land and began to develop the town of Ripon. He developed water power, erected a flour mill, constructed a hotel, built a chair factory, and established several stores and retail businesses. In the 1850's Mapes was instrumental in bringing the first railroads to the town. He set aside lands to promote the establishment of a college, and in 1850 with Alvan E. Bovay (q.v.) he began to raise funds. The school, which was called Brockway College, was taken over by the Congregational Church in 1853 and the name was changed to Ripon College. In 1856 Mapes led a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign to relocate county lines so that Ripon might become the county seat of Green Lake County. A Democrat, he was a member of the first state Democratic caucus to nominate presidential electors and state candidates, and was a presidential elector in 1852. In the late 1860's he moved to Winneconne, where he operated a hotel until his death. Ripon Commonwealth, May 16, 23, 1890; D. P. Mapes, Hist. of ... Ripon (Milwaukee, 1873); Hist. of Fond du Lac Co. (Chicago, 1880); Wis. Mag. Hist., 8; WPA field notes.
View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]