Family:Whitney, Daniel (1795-1862)

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Daniel7 Whitney (Samuel6, Joseph5, Timothy4, John3, John2, John1), son of Samuel6 and Mary (Whitney) Whitney, was born 3 Sep 1795, Gilsum, NH,[1] and died 4 Nov 1862, Green Bay, WI.

He married, 1 Sep 1826, Middlebury, VT, Emeline S. Henshaw.[2] She was born 21 Jul 1803, Middlebury, VT, and died 25 Oct 1890. "The deceased will be long remembered for her true Christian character and her charitable deeds. Her benefactions were performed without ostentation, bringing life and joy where sickness and poverty had laid their withering hand. Her influence, like that of the rain upon the thirsty land, was always for good. The writer of this item desires to lay a wreath of immortelles upon her resting place in the memory of her deeds during dire sickness many long years ago--ministrations that were as pure and hallowed as the manna that fell from Heaven--and it was a sample act of her daily life." [Green Bay paper.]

Mr. Whitney was born in the town of Gilsum, NH, 3 Sep 1795, and went to Green Bay, WI, in the summer of 1819, being 24 years of age. He established himself in mercantile business near Camp Smith, two and a half miles above the present site of Green Bay, where the village then was, and this was the starting point of all his numerous enterprises. He was the first American who opened a store and it was the most extensive west of the lakes. Wisconsin and all the west and north, was then an entire wilderness, inhabited only by the wild Indians, comprising within the limits of the present state at least six different nations, and other nations still more fierce and warlike held all the country west of the Mississippi. This did not prevent him from making long journeys to the interior, and pushing his investigations whenever he thought good locations for trade could be found. He explored the Fox river to its source, and the Wisconsin from the rapids to the Mississippi. In 1821-22 he was sutler for U.S. troops at Fort Snelling on the St. Peter's river, Minnesota. He established several trading posts on the Mississippi, where he supplied traders with goods; and had also a trading post at Sault St. Marie. During the winter of 1822 he traveled on foot from Fort Snelling to Detroit, with only an Indian for a companion to assist him with his provisions and bedding, which they drew on a hand sled. During this whole journey (about 1,000 miles) he met but one white man and saw but two cabins. An incident occurred on this trip, which showed the perseverence and daring of the man. In crossing one of the numerous rivers on the route, he found the ice bad. The Indian guide was afraid. Mr. Whitney crossed over and drew the sled and loading with him. The Indian would not follow. Mr. W. recrossed; Indian would not be persuaded to try it; Mr. W. had broken through with one foot, ice was thin, the water was deep and the current strong. Mr. Whitney provided himself with a rope from the sled and a cudgel, and compelling the Indian to lie down upon the ice, with the rope drew him over in safety. In the fall of 1824 he had a vessel, loaded with goods and provisions for Green Bay, frozen in near Mackinac. As such an accident in those times threatened serious consequences to the settlements, and, although starvation was impossible when fish and venison were plenty, yet many must suffer inconvenience, and Mr. W. great loss, unless supplies could be reached. As soon, therefore, as cold weather had insured a bridge of ice along shore, and across the rivers and bays, he fitted out an expedition consisting of himself and several Canadian Frenchmen with horse-trains, and made the trip to Mackinac on the ice, where the vessel was, and returned with all he could put on, of the most necessary goods.

In order to carry on his extensive operations he went several times to Canada and procured large numbers of men used to voyaging and the trader's life. With these as companions and assistants he traversed the country on foot, in the bark canoe and the Mackinac boat, exploring new sections of country, and transporting goods to his trading houses. Many of these men are still in the county and have become most substantial farmers. From these early times until the light of civilization shone across the country, and settlements formed, and roads opened from the lake shore to the interior, and until the improvements of the Fox river had so far progressed as to admit of partial steamboat navigation, Mr. Whitney was largely engaged in the transportation business. For many years all the supplies for Forts Winnebago and Crawford and the upper Mississippi, for troops, Indian treaties, etc., were conveyed in boats from Green Bay by the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, and few persons, not familiar with those times can form any idea of the immense labor and cost involved in carrying it out. Between the years 1825 and 1830 Mr. Whitney explored the upper Wisconsin, and built mills at Plover Portage, and for more than fifteen years was engaged in the business of manufacturing lumber and running it down the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers to the St. Louis market. This was the first lumbering establishment erected on the Wisconsin river, and probably the first on any tributary of the Mississippi. During the same period he also built a shot tower at Helena, on the Wisconsin river, and inaugurated an extensive business at that point. From the time the Stockbridge Indians came into the state to commence their new homes, in 1827 or '28, until their removal to their present location in Shawano county, he kept a supply store among them and transacted their business for them, and during the whole time, about thirteen years, possessed their entire confidences as a strictly honest man, and a fair and liberal dealer, and down to the time of his death these Indians looked up to him as their father and friend. In the year 1831 he abandoned his residence near Camp Smith and moved his family and store to Navarino, now Green Bay, near the mouth of the river, where he continued to reside. From his earliest acquaintance with the locality and surroundings of Green Bay, he entertained the most unbounded confidence in its capabilites and fitness to become the most important commercial town in the state, and, acting upon this faith, he as early as possible secured the land where the city now stands, and in 1828 or '29 laid out the town of Navarino, since incorporated as Green Bay, and commenced building a city. In 1830 he had completed a wharf and spacious warehouse, a portion of the Washington house, a school house, and some dwelling houses for his mechanics and laborers. From 1830 to 1840 he continued to build, and as fast as materials could be obtained, erected eight or ten stores and a large number of dwelling houses to rent, and in the meantime gave away a considerable number of lots to mechanics and others who where desirous of building homes for themselves. He also contributed very largely towards the completion of the Episcopal church edifice, the first protestant house of worship in that city, and the first in the state. This church edifice was always a special object of interest to him, and from its completion in 1838 until all cares ended with him on earth, he never ceased to watch about it, and many a dollar has he expended in repairs from time to time which no one but himself ever noted or recorded; for which the congregation can never cease to owe him a grateful remembrance. During the last fifteen years of his life he pursued no regular business, but devoted his whole time to the care of an immense land estate. His early life in the wilderness, upon the rivers, and upon the bay, was full of incidents, interesting, as showing the intrepidity of his character, and his indomitable perseverance under the most discouraging difficulties. On one occasion, while returning home from Grand Kaukauna with horse and train on the ice, in the night, his horse broke through. Being alone, and finding himself unable to extricate the horse without aid, in order to keep the horse's head above water tied it to the train, and then went three miles for assistance, rather than let his horse be drowned, as most men would have done. He returned with help and saved the horse. Whenever there was danger in his path he was always at the head of his party and never required a man in his employ to go where he was afraid to lead. He was never a candidate, and never held an office. Honest and upright in all his dealings, he always possessed the confidence of his employes and dependents and all who had any business transactions with him. His heart was ever kind; and the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted, in his death, have lost a friend who never forgot them. Many is the time that such in their greatest want have found the needed supply in the doorway, or at the kitchen corner at nightfall, or at the daydawn, without ever knowing the hand that relieved them; and oft has the Christmas tide brought with it happiness when else no merry Christmas jubilee would have found its way around the fires where no Yule log was wont to burn, but for his ever benevolent and open hand. Such will remember him with affection, and it is feared, look in vain for one to take his place. He died in the house where he had resided almost thirty years, on the 4th day of November, 1862, at the age of 68 years, and by his will left his large and valuable estate entirely under the control of his widow, as sole executor. He died 4 Nov 1862; resided Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Children of Daniel7 and Emeline S. (Henshaw) Whitney:

i. Daniel Henshaw8 Whitney, b. 7 Jun 1827; m. Eva Rosina Baeder.
vi. Harriett H. Whitney, b. 18 Oct 1842; resided Green Bay, unmarried
ii. Joshua Whitney, b. 30 Aug 1829; m. Elizabeth F. Irwin.
iii. William Beaumont Whitney, b. 4 Apr 1832; m.(1) Laura M. Clewell; m.(2) Emma G. Varian.
iv. Charles R. Whitney, b. 27 Sep 1837; d. 27 Nov 1841.
v. John P. K. Whitney, b. 10 Nov 1840; d. 30 Oct 1841.
vii. Henry Clay Whitney, b. 12 Apr 1847; d. 28 Sep 1847.


267 298 William Homans 36 M - E. Clergyman Pennsylvania --- Fidelia " 35 F - Connecticut --- Appalonia Bart 14 F - Germany --- Daniel Whitney 55 M - Merchant $40000 New Hampshire --- Joshua Whitney 20 M - Forwarding Merchant $3000 Wisconsin ---

853 858 Emeline Whitney 56 F - Vermont Joshua Whitney 30 M - Forwd. Com. Merchant $1500 -- Wis. Elizabeth Whitney 29 F - Wis. Emaline Whitney 6 F - Wis. Danl. H. Whitney 32 M - Clerk $500 -- Wis. Mary Fitzpatrick 20 F - Servant Ireland

224 234 Whitney, Emmeline S. 66 F W Keeping House $83000 $42000 Vermont -----, Harriet H. 26 F W At home $7000 $1000 Wisconsin Whitney, Rose 29 F W Wittenberg Parents foreign born -----, Emmeline S. 4 F W Wisconsin -----, Daniel 3 M W Wisconsin Harle, Peter 48 M W Laborer $400 -- Canada Parents foreign born, Illiterate, Male citizen over 21 Konpt, George 23 M W Cabinet Maker Prussia Parents foreign born

Emmeline WHITNEY 76 Self F M W VT Keeping House CT CT Hariet WHITNEY 38 Dau F S W WS At Home PA VT Rose WHITNEY 41 Dau F M W WURTENBURG WURT WURT Emmeline S. WHITNEY 14 Dau F S W WI WI WURT Daniel WHITNEY 13 Son M S W WI WI WURT Antone SMITZ 18 Oth M S W HOLLAND Servent HOLLAND HOLLAND Julia BORGENEAU 21 Oth F S W BEL Servent BEL BEL


1.^  New Hampshire, Vital Records, Birth Index.

2.^  Vermont, Vital Records Index, Marriages.

Copyright © 2006, 2008, 2009, 2014, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group.

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