Oral traditions about Milwaukee's founding

The First White Boy in Milwaukee

This 10-page account of early settlement in Milwaukee was written by Eugene H. Cleveland of Trempealeau, Wis., long after the events it portrays. It describes the arrival in Chicago of his grandfather, Horatio J. Cleveland (1790-1864), in the fall of 1833, his overland trek from there to Milwaukee in the spring of 1834, and his removal to Milwaukee in 1835. It provides many details about Solomon Juneau and the construction of the city's first frame buildings. Other figures mentioned include Timothy Hale, Quartus Carley, Andrew Lansing, Rodney Currier, and Byron Kilbourn. Cleveland repeats a family tradition that his father Charles (1823-1909), "then about ten years old," persuaded an Indian boy in a canoe to take him ashore ahead of the rest of the party, claiming afterwards that he was "the first white boy in Milwaukee." 

Although undated, the manuscript was probably written soon after Charles Cleveland's death in 1908, when his son, E.H. Cleveland, appears to have returned to Trempealeau, Wis. The manuscript was acquired in 1949 from Bert A. Gipple of Galesville, Wis. We are grateful to Judy Henderson of Friendswood, Texas, for bringing it to our attention and providing the typescript.

Related Topics: Immigration and Settlement
The Founding of Major Cities
Creator: Cleveland, E. H., 1850-1939.
Pub Data: Digitized from the original manuscript in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives, call number SC 1798.
Citation: Cleveland, E. H. "The First White Boy in Milwaukee." Unpublished manuscript SC 1798, Wisconsin Historical Society Archives. Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1723; Visited on: 1/21/2019