Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Carhart, John W. 1834 - 1914

Carhart, John W. 1834 - 1914 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Methodist clergyman, physician, inventor, b. Coeymans, N.Y. He attended Union Seminary, Charlotteville, N.Y., and began his varied career as a Methodist minister. He subsequently graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago. In 1871 he moved to Racine where he preached and practiced medicine. In 1871 he also designed and built a steam-propelled automobile. Although his invention proved to be impractical, it inspired the 1875 legislature to offer a reward for the builder of a successful machine and in 1878 such a machine ran from Green Bay to Madison. Carhart served as pastor of the First Methodist Church at Oshkosh before moving to Texas in the 1880s. F. L. Holmes, Side Roads (Madison, 1949); Eau Claire Leader, Dec. 23, 1914; Milwaukee Journal, Oct. 29, 1916.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the John Wesley Carhart Papers for details.

Learn More

Explore more than 1,600 people, places and events in Wisconsin history.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]