Brown County Historic Sites

Allouez and Bellevue

Site Monument Text Location
Woodlawn Cemetery; Minahan mausoleum [+]marker

Minahan's Tomb

Overlooking Riverside Drive …

and the Fox River Trail is the tomb of Dr. William Edward Minahan, who died in the sinking of the Titanic. William had four brothers who were also doctors, and his oldest brother, Robert, was also a lawyer who served as mayor of Green Bay from 1904 through 1907.

William Minahan was a native of Chilton, Wisconsin, where he graduated from high school. He briefly pursued teaching but decided to become a doctor instead. He attended medical school in Chicago and graduated with high honors. Minahan married Mary Digman in 1893 and they had a daughter, Maude Olive, before they divorced. He moved to Fond du Lac in 1899, where he established a very well-known and highly respected medical practice. In 1903 he married his second wife, Lillian.

On April 14, 1912, Dr. Minahan, accompanied by his wife Lillian and sister Daisy, set sail on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. They were returning from an extensive tour of pleasure and study in Eurpoe, Asia and North Africa. Dr. Minahan, at the age of 45, was one of the approximately 1,500 people who perished when the ship, thought to be "unsinkable," hit an iceberg and sank. Lillian and Daisy were among the 704 survivors of approximately 2,200 total passengers.

Dr. Minahan's body was brought to Green Bay and entombed in the Minahan crypt in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Sources: Judith LuMaye, Minahan, Early Green Bay Family (Bay Area Geneological Society, 1998). "Milwaukeeans on Ill-Fated Titanic," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 21, 1998. "Survivors Tell Sotries of Horror," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 16, 1912.
Supported by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant # NA06NOS4190183; Brown County Facility and Park Management; Baylake Bank; and Leadership Green Bay.

Along the Fox River State Recreational Trail, downhill and across Riverside drive from the original entrance of Woodlawn Cemetery
Redemptorist Church [+]marker

First Redemptorist Church in America

The church of St. John the Evangelist, the first church of the Redemptorists in this hemisphere, stood 215 feet east of this marker. It was begun by Rev. S. Mazzuchelli, O. P. and completed by Redemptorist missionaries sent from Europe by Rev. Joseph Passerat, C. SS. R. They arrived here on August 31, 1832, the first resident priests in Wisconsin in over a hundred years. Called St. Francis Xavier by the Redemptorists, it was the only Catholic church in Wisconsin. The Redemptorists left in 1837. The church burned down on Christmas, 1847. The present church of St. John the Evangelist in Green Bay is the successor of this church and the oldest continuous Catholic parish in Wisconsin.

On the east side of Riverside Drive, next to the west entrance of Allouez Catholic Cemetery.
For the modern Saint John's Church, see Astor-Navarino.
Camp Smith [+]marker Site of Camp Smith 1820 West side of Webster Avenue, just north of Greene Street at the entrance of Heritage Hill State Historical Park

Heritage Hill State Park

This park, built to portray and preserve Wisconsin's beginnings, is located on a site that is itself a part of history. On this 40- acre site stood Camp Smith ~~ a temporary location of Fort Howard ~~ part of the pioneer settlement known as Shantytown, and Wisconsin's first courthouse. Through the site passed the military road linking Fort Howard with Fort Winnebago at Portage and Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien.

Many of the buildings at Heritage Hill are original structures that were saved over the years by people of foresight and perseverance. Among these buildings are Henry Baird's law office, several original Fort Howard buildings, the Cotton House, a rench fur trader's cabin, and the Tank Cottage ~~ Wisconsin's oldest standing house dating from 1776. The spread of civilization in Wisconsin was begun by the people who first made their homes here on the banks of the Fox River.

Erected jointly by the Jean Nicolet Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Weese-coh-Seh Chapter, Daughters of the American Colonists, 1977

First courthouse [+]marker The first courthouse in Wisconsin stood on this site
Between Riverside Drive (State Trunk Highway 57) and the Fox River, just north of State Trunk Highway 172 and within the boundaries of Heritage Hill State Historical Park
The large block arc monument was intended to be visible from Riverside Drive but it is currently screened by trees.
[+]marker Site of the first Covrt Hovse in Wisconsin
("Site of the first Court House in Wisconsin", the carving imitating classical Latin inscription)

Menomineeville, Seat of Justice

In 1823, James Doty …

was appointed by President Monroe as a district judge for the northern and western Michigan Territory, which included what is now the state of Wisconsin. Doty set up the region's new court in an empty log building.

Three years later, prominent fur trader John Lawe platted a town in the area that included the courthouse. Lawe, who had enormous influence with the Menominee Indians, recorded the town as "Munnomonee." In later years known as Menomineeville, the town became the seat of federal justice in the Territory.

The small courthouse witnessed a number of important trials. at the first session of the new court, Judge Doty began an investigation into the legality of the marriages among the local population. Many of the local French fur traders and trappers who made up the majority of the population had married native women by presenting gifts to their brides' families; few of these marriages had the sanction of any church or government official. As a result of Doty's investigation, 38 local men were charged with adultery and ordered either to marry within 10 days or be tried under the new laws of the Territory. Most of the accused agreed to be married by the court, but at least eight refused to do so. Doty's strong action against the marriage customs announced the beginning of a new era of law in the Green Bay area.

The most famous trial to take place at the "Munnomonee" courthouse was the trial of Chief Oshkosh, which is depicted in a painting that decorates the Wisconsin State Supreme Court chambers in the State Capitol. Oshkosh was charged with manslaughter for fatally stabbing Okewa, a Pawnee Indian, in revenge for the murder of a fellow Menominee tribal member. Thought the jury found Oshkosh guilty, Judge Doty decided to set aside the jury's verdict and uphold Menominee law, which considerd the revenge killing to be just. In an important ruling, Doty argued that federal law did not apply to Indians in what was then the Michigan Territory.

Sources: Jeanne Kay, "John Lawe, Green Bay Trader" Wisconsin Magazine of History 64 (Autumn 1980): 2-27. Jack Rudolph, Birthplace of a Commonwealth: A Short History of Brown County, Wisconsin (Brown County Historical Society, 1976). Patty Lowe, Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2001). Alice E. Smith, James Duane Doty, Frontier Promoter (State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1954).
Supported by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant # NA06NOS4190183; Brown County Facility and Park Management; Prevea Health; and Leadership Green Bay.

Along the Fox River State Recreational Trail just north of State Trunk Highway 172 and immediately shoreward of the stone markers.
Shantytown [+]marker
Upper left: [+]marker
Upper right: [+]marker
[Main text:]
The First American Settlement in Wisconsin
(Menomineeville 1825)
est. 1817

Robert Irwin was teh first American to purchase property in Shantytown. He purchased his property from Col. Joseph Du Charme for a barrel of flour and a barrel of whiskey. In 1822, his store became the first Post Office in Wisconsin.

[Photograph captions:]
  • Replica of Wisconsin's first Court House - now at Heritage Hill
  • Henry S. Baird - Early Territorial Attorney
    and Father of the Wisconsin Bar
  • Judge James Duane Doty - First Federal Judge
    West of Lake Michigan. Founder of Madison in 1836
  • Daniel Whitney - Sotre Keeper, Fur Trader, and founder
    of Navarino in 1829, which later joined with
    Astor to become the City of Green Bay.
[Photograph captions:]
  • Dr. R. Cowles and son, circa 1925
  • Hockers Brickyard and Kiln - 1925
  • Reformatory Physician Dr. Lenfesty
    near first prison wall
  • Joseph Du Charme, Jr. - Descendent of Col. Du Charme
    Active in Allouez politics and history.
  • Hochgreve Brewery - 1874
Photographs courtesy of State Historical Society, Neville Public Museum, The Allouez Historical Society, GB Correctional Institute and personal family collections.

[Map in upper left:]
Shantytown Business District of the 1820s
Source: copy of map courtesy of Helen (Solomon) Vanden Bush
Later located at the Brown County Register of Deeds, map cica 1830, vol. 12A PC 17E

[Map in upper right:]
Vol 4 Green Bay Historical Bulletin 1928
The river road in 1832.

Along the Fox River State Recreational Trail shoreward of the Catholic Cemetery and just south of the Shantytown marker below.


In 1820 as a defensive move,

Fort Howard commander Colonel Joseph Smith moved the garrison to near this location, about a half-mile back from the shore. The high ridge on which the camp, dubbed Camp Smith, was located provided good visibility and protection from disease – both advantages over the prior location of the fort (on the west side of the Fox River and three miles to the north). The new establishment was short-lived; in 1822 Colonel Pickney took command of the fort, and the War Department ordered the garrison to move back to Fort Howard.

Meanwhile, a small settlement had grown up to serve Camp Smith that was known as Shantytown. After the soldiers had gone, Shantytown remained. The community, which stretched from about where Heritage Hill is now to Allouez Avenue, may have been the first American settlement west of Lake Michigan. It contained the region's first post office, which shared space with postmaster Robert J. Irwin Jr.'s general store. Shantytown remained the center of trade and business in the area for the next 10 to 15 years. The settlement was located in what is now the village of Allouez.

Henry Baird, a lawyer and politician, moved here in 1824 and became the first lawyer to practice in Wisconsin. Baird served as Green Bay's mayor from 1861 to 1862. His wife, Elizabeth, later wrote her memoirs of life in Shantytown. On arriving in Shantytown in September 1824 Elizabeth Baird wrote, We were rowed ashore … as there were no wharves or docks. The river looked clean and broad. The wild rice, a patch several yards in width growing along its borders, was a novel sight.

Although the original buildings and homes of Shantytown are no longer standing, the legacy lives on in the names of city streets and parks.

Along the Fox River State Recreational Trail just north of the Allouez marker above.
Bellevue Belgian Presbyterian Cemetery [+]marker
The Belgian Presbyterian Cemetery
Formed September 19, 1871

This third — acre plot was given by Pierre Duquaine and Michael Scory. The log church was one — half mile east on Eaton Road. It burned and was not replaced. The first pastor was Rev. C. Levasseur, ancestor to A. Levasseur. Secy. to Gen. LaFayette of France. The Gen. fought beside Gen. George Washington during our American Revolution.

On the south side of Eaton Road just east of the Bellevue Village Hall.
(Shown is Messiah Lutheran Church and a former farmhouse. Based on an article by Dan Meunier in The Historical Bulletin of the Brown County Historical Society (Fall 2012), the house is the original Scory homestead.)

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