Organization of the Racine Village


As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879), pages 374-375

In February, 1841, the Legislature granted a charter for the organization of the village of Racine. The people adopted the same at a special election held the following month. In April, the first election took place, under the charter, at which Dr. Elias Smith was chosen President. The Board of Trustees consisted of Consider Heath, Alanson Filer, Marshall M. Strong and Sidney A. Sage. L. S. Cary was elected Clerk.

At the first meeting of the Board, held April 12, 1841, Dr. Smith resigned his office. Alanson Filer was called to the Chair, as President pro tem. Amaziah Stebbins, who was elected Assessor, also resigned, and Alfred Cary was appointed to that position. A special election for President was ordered to be held May 5. A tax of $300 was ordered "spread" for the current year. The first accounts audited were those presented by Levi Conroe, $100 for work at the mouth of the river; and $4 each to Alfred Cary, J. M. Sprague and C. W. White for services as Assessors.

Charles S. Wright was elected President at the May election, and was 6the first active President of the village.

The principal business transacted by the Board during the first year was the improvement of the streets. Until 1838 and 1839, the territory now defined as the First Ward was covered with oak timber. That winter, the trees were cut down and chopped into cordwood, but the stumps were left in the ground and the brush-wood was not burned. Main street was incumbered with a mass of such debris south of Fourth street. In 1841, the Trustees entered into a contract with Socrates Hopkins to grub the stumps and turnpike Main street from Second to Seventh, 125 rods, at a cost of $1 per rod. S. H. Fenn was also paid for clearing the stumps from a part of Sixth street. The citizens petitioned for sidewalks on both sides of Main street, between Third and Fourth, and the Trustees, with a peculiar burst of generosity, appropriated $14 for the work of contructing a walk in front of Blocks 13 and 14.

The Clerk was allowed $10 for one year's labor in that office.

November 13, 1841, Isaac Harmon was appointed Clerk.

April, 1842, the elections resulted in the following manner: Bushnell B. Cary, President; Alanson Filer, Levi Blake, S. A. Sage and Consider Heath, Trustees; Isaac Harmon, Clerk; Ludlow F. Lewis, Treasurer and Collector; and J. M. Sprague, Alfred Cary and Chester W. White, Assessors.

In 1843, the Board consisted of M. B. Mead, President; Charles S. Wright, Alanson Filer, L. F. Lewis and John Dickson, Trustees; Isaac Harmon, Clerk. Capt. Thomas J. Cram was appointed Chief Engineer of the Harbor Improvement work. A. G. Knight was chosen Collector and Treasurer of the village. Mr. Mead resigned the Chair, October 23, and was succeeded by Warren Cole as President. Messrs. White, Cary and Sprague were elected Assessors.

In 1844, the Board was presided over by Warren Cole, and was composed of Charles S. Wright, Lucius S. Blake, Ludlow F. Lewis and John Dickson. Isaac Harmon still served as Clerk. A. G. Knight was Treasurer. C. W. White, Alfred Cary and Consider Heath were elected Assessors.

April, 1845, John A. Carswell became President, and Charles Herrick, S. S. Dickinson, William H. Lathrop and David Bradley, Trustees. Isaac Harmon was Clerk. William S. Rice succeeded to the Treasurership. John Mann was appointed Harbor-master. Nathaniel Carswell was employed ring the Court House bell five times a day, to indicate stated hours, for which he was paid $1.25 per diem. The Assessors were James O. Bartlett, Isaac N. Parker and Alfred Cary.

In 1846, C. W. Spaford was elected President, and Nathan Burnham, John G. Conroe, S. B. Peck and Elisha Raymond, Jr., Trustees. Mr. Harmon was chosen Clerk. James O. Bartlett was Treasurer, and H. F. Cox, Jr., Alfred Cary and L. K. Smith, Assessors.

In 1847, C. W. White was President; Edwin Gould, James Fleming, James M. Killip, and William H. Waterman were Trustees. Mr. Harmon was re-elected Clerk. George Bull was chosen Treasurer, and Robert Cothie, C. S. Wright and Isaac N. Parker, Assessors.

April, 1848, the last election under the village charter was held, and resulted in the choice of Eli R. Cooley, President; William M. Allen, Reuben M. Norton, Seneca Raymond and John H. Palmeter, Trustees. Isaac Harmon was again elected Clerk. The Assessors were S. S. Hurlbut, A. P. Dutton and David McDonald.




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