GEN. DAVID ATWOOD


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 949-950

GEN. DAVID ATWOOD was born in Bedford, N.H. December 1815; he belongs to a vigorous and long-lived family; his father at the age of 90 was living at the old homestead; like most New England boys, young ATWOOD worked on the farm during the summer and attended the district school in the winter; the summers being short in that latitude, the work was continuous; there was but little time for relaxation, none for idleness; the winters were severely cold, and the pathway to school was frequently obstructed by snow drifts; in his 16th year, he accompanied an older brother to Hamilton, Madison Co, N.Y., where he commenced working at a printer's case; his employers were law-book publishers; he remained there five years and became master of his craft before visiting home; after this he traveled for a number of years; visited every place of note in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and every organized county in Indiana; Chicago he remembers as a village in a swamp, with muddy and almost impassable streets, and a little wooden hotel not far from the present site of the Tremont House; he was highly pleased with the West and had a tempting offer to engage in business in Cincinnati, but declined, and returned to Hamilton in 1839, where, with his brother, he undertook the publication of the Hamilton Palladium, a weekly newspaper, which he continued for five years; the paper paid expenses and nothing more; overworked and broken in health in the political campaign that culminated in the defeat of Clay, a campaign so gallantly fought and so foolishly lost, Col. ATWOOD set his face to the westward, determined to abandon the editorial life; he purchased a farm near Freeport, Ill.; at that time it took nearly six weeks of slow and toilsome travel to get from Hamilton to his new home. In the summer of 1845, he put in a crop of wheat, was very hopeful, but the crop failed; then tried sheep, and one-half of the flock died the first winter; misfortune followed misfortune, and he was surrounded by distress and discouragement on every side . Two years spent on a farm had restored his health, and exhausted his funds, and furnished him with all the experience in agriculture he deemed it advisable to indulge in; settling out, he determined to engage again in editorial labors; no place seemed so attractive to him then as the thriving Territory of Wisconsin; in casting about for a good place to settle, he found no spot so inviting as Madison, the capital of the Territory, and on reaching it he immediately became connected with the Madison Express. The capital was then a small village, and there was but little business such as was derived directly or indirectly from the public printing; his duties were arduous and varied; to use his own words in the Dane Co. press, "Editor, reporter, compositor, foreman and all hands." He reported the proceedings of the last two sessions of the Territorial Legislature convened at Madison, and the entire proceedings of the Constitutional Convention. In September 1852, Gen. ATWOOD commenced the publication of the Daily State Journal, and still continues it; about a year after the Journal was established, he associated with him the Hon. Horace RUBLEE, now Minister resident of the United States to Switzerland; the Journal took a leading position, became firmly established and is increasing in usefulness; it is Republican in position, enterprising and devoted to the best interests of the State; its power has always been wielded for the public good; it is the life work and monument of Gen. ATWOOD; he was one of the leading spirits in the organization of the Republican party in 1854, and was appointed, in 1855, Clerk of the first Republican militia. In 1860, he was chosen a member of the legislature. He as appointed United States Assessor upon the creation of that office; he was Mayor of Madison in 1868. In January 1870, Hon. B. F. HOPKINS, member of Congress died, and Mr. ATWOOD was at once elected to fill the vacancy thus created without any opposing candidate; he took his seat on the 23d day of February 1870. He obtained appropriations for completing and furnishing the United States Court House and Post Office at Madison; he labored diligently for the passages of these bills, and declined re-election. He has been thirteen years Treasurer of the State Agricultural Society; twenty-four years a Director, and for a number of years President of the Madison Mutual Insurance Company, and for years Trustee of the State Hospital for the Insane. The maiden name of Mrs. ATWOOD was Mary SWEENEY.


Transcribed and contributed to this site by Carol

 

 

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