Term: Juneau, Solomon 1793 - 1856
fur trader, founder of Milwaukee, b. Repentigny, Quebec, Canada. He was baptized Laurent Salomon Juneau, but dropped his first name sometime after coming to Milwaukee and changed the spelling of his second name to Solomon. The extent of his early education is unknown. In 1816 he moved to Mackinac where he found employment as a clerk for Jacques Vieau, fur trader, who had his headquarters at Green Bay and a trading post on the Menominee River at the present site of Milwaukee. Buying out Vieau's post on the Menominee in 1819, Juneau became a trader for John Jacob Astor's American Fur Co. and in 1820 married Vieau's daughter, Josette. In 1822 he built the first log house in Milwaukee and in 1824 the first frame building. He became an American citizen in 1831, and began to learn English the same year. In Oct., 1833, he formed a partnership with Morgan L. Martin (q.v.) to develop a village on the east side of the Milwaukee River, and in 1835 Juneau entered his claim as a pre-emption, platted lots, and began selling them to settlers. In 1835 he erected a two-story house, a store, and a hotel (Belleview House), and at the first election for officers of Milwaukee township (Sept. 1835) he was elected a commissioner of roads and a director of the poor. When the first post office was established at Milwaukee in 1835, Juneau was appointed postmaster, and held this position until 1843. In 1837 he began publication of the Milwaukee Sentinel, with John O'Rourke as editor, and on the organization of village government the same year, Juneau was elected trustee and village president. A Democrat, in 1846 Juneau was elected first mayor of Milwaukee, and served one term (Apr. 1846-Apr. 1847). In 1848 he opened a store in Theresa, Wis., where he had established a trading post as early as 1833, and in 1852 the Juneau family moved permanently to the new location. He died at Keshena while attending a "payment" on the Menominee Indian reservation. Juneau was closely identified with almost every public improvement in pioneer Milwaukee. With Morgan L. Martin he built the first courthouse and presented it to the county, and he also donated the land for St. Peter's Catholic Church, St. John's Cathedral, the first government lighthouse, and for Milwaukee Female Seminary. Dict. Amer. Biog.; Wis. Mag. Hist., 41; B. Still, Milwaukee (Madison, 1948); I. Fox, S. Juneau (Milwaukee ); WPA field notes; S. Juneau Papers.
The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Solomon Laurent Juneau Papers for details. See also the Solomon Laurent Juneau Miscellany.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]