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Record 171/261
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Admin/Biog History William W. Wright, son of George and Electa Whitney Wright, was born July 7, 1819 in New York. He moved, along with his father, to Wisconsin in 1836 and settled in present-day Oshkosh. He operated a country grocery store for some time, but became more and more involved in real estate and insurance ventures. He married Mary Elizabeth Evans on July 23, 1843 in Oshkosh; the couple had nine children. William W. Wright was very active in the development of the city of Oshkosh; he was called the "Father of Oshkosh" in early accounts. He served as city and county treasurer and was elected an alderperson. He died on March 24, 1903.
Reuben Powell Hicks was born December 20, 1826 in Lee County, NY. He married Mary E. Whitney and the couple had a son Orville R., who died the same year he was born in 1849. Mary died January 4, 1850. Reuben then married Sophia Betsey Kimball and the couple had six children: Addie Eliza, born 1853; Emmitt Reuben, born 1854; Clarence john, born 1863; Albert Kimball, born 1865; Carl or Ernest Levi, born 1869 (died same year); and Clinton levi, born 1857, died 1858. Reuben came to Wisconsin in 1850 and settled on a farm in Rushford Township. In 1856 he moved to Omro where by 1880 he was listed as a carriage maker. In 1890 he was living in Oshkosh where he was the Deputy Clerk at the Winnebago County Court House. He died on November 2, 1898.
Classification Archives
Collection Titus-Wright Collection
Dates of Accumulation 1850
Abstract Letter written by William Wallace Wright to Reuben Hicks in Jefferson County, NY. Reuben Powell Hicks had just lost his wife, Mary E. Whitney Hicks on January 4, 1850. Reuben was the father of Emmitt Reuben Hicks. Reuben would come to Winnebago County later in 1850. Wright describes the Oshkosh area in detail and the prospects for those migrating westerward.

Mr. Ruben Hicks
Jefferson Co./N.Y.

Oshkosh Feb 28th 1850

Respected Friend,
I received your letter in due time and although an entire stranger to you yet I feel a nearness towards you from the fact of your being connected with my relatives. I feel to mourn with you for the loss of your beloved wife & my much loved cousin, but it is a source of great consolation to know that she died with a firm hope in Jesus, blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. O what precious words are those and may it be our chief aim and desire to be prepared to die the death of the righteous and may the Lord help you to be resigned to his will and to live in that way and manner that you will meet her in that land of pure delight where sickness and death never come.
I will now try and answer your inquiries as well as I can. Government Land is rather scarce just here. You will have to go from ten to twenty miles from here to get Government land, there is a large [illegible] of land about 12 miles west of Oshkosh that was bought by Government last fall of the Indians that has a grate deal of good farming land in it besides immense pine forests, which will furnish lumber in abundance for a grate many years, we have almost all kinds of lumber here but principally oak and hickory, the land is not watered so well as some people would like to have it get there is a grate many farms watered with good spring and nice little creeks. But good water can be found by digging from 15 to 20 feet there is some state land to be sold in the spring that was [illegible] by Government for the improvement of the Fox River the first sale will be in April. This state land legs along the river and is generally very good land. Lumber is plenty here, that is pine lumber there is none other. It is worth here from 7 to 12 dollars per thousand according to quality. Good horses are worth from sixty to eighty dollars. A good two-horse wagon is worth 75 or 80 dollars oxen one worth from 50 to 70 dollars per yoke. Good cows one worth 20 dollars. Cook stoves can be bought here for from 12 to 25 dollars. Wheat is worth 69 cents per bushel corn is worth 44 cts oats 38 cts potatoes 38 cts pork fresh is worth $4.75 cts per hundred beef from 3 to 4 dollars per hundred. Flour is worth $3.45 cts per bbl. dry goods and groceries can be bought very reasonable now. You spoke about getting into business there would be no trouble in [illegible] into employment very soon. And there is a great want of school teachers here it almost impossible to get a good teacher in our village school. I think you would find no difficulty in getting into some speculation if you should come here. Perhaps you would like to know something about our village there is 12 dry goods stores 14 grocers 4 taverns and another [illegible] building 4 tailor shops 5 shoe shops 5 blacksmith shops 4 cabinet shops 2 printing offices 2 livery stables one tin shop and silver smith 2 [illegible] smiths one [illegible] shop 2 sash factories 2 steam sawmills and another in building and one horse saw mill 2 stone houses and wharves and my brother George and a Mr. Knapp is putting up another large stone house and wharf. And Mr. James Harris is building a fine steamboat to run on the Lake and river, the engine is 100-horse power. We have built a good bridge across the river here at a cost of three thousand dollars. And two lines of Telegraph running through Oshkosh from Milwaukee to Green Bay, but they have not got into operation yet. The posts are set through and the wire is laid with in a few miles of this place. The improvement of the river from the steamboat navigation will help this place very much and all the country around it. Please tell Uncle Amasa to write to me and let me know whither he intends to come here or not if he is a going to come here I will try and get a good farm picked out for him. Give my love to Uncles folks. Our folks are all well. My wife joins me in our love to you and all inquiring friends.
Yours Most Respectfully
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Object ID RG3.15
Object Name Letter
People Wright, William Wallace
Hicks, Reuben Powell
Subjects Pioneers
Westward movement
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009