Wisconsin History Day By Day


Related Web Sites:
Byron Kilbourn house (photo)

Historic Milwaukee Inc.

Wisconsin Dells history


Read More About It

"Byron Kilbourn and the Development of Milwaukee" by Goodwin Berquist

"Story of Kilbourn and its Vicinity" by Madge Patterson Van Dyke


Vocabulary:

land speculator
surveyor
bond
scandal


Interesting Fact:

In 1998, one hundred and thirty years after Kilbourn help to found Milwaukee, his body was moved to Milwaukee for burial.


Study Questions:

  • What does a surveyor do?
  • What was the relationship Kilbourn had with Solomon Juneau?
  • Why was the railroad bond scandal so disastrous to Kilbourn?


    Search these newspaper databases for additional stories about Byron Kilbourn:

  • Wisconsin State Journal/The Capital Times
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • BadgerLink Wisconsin Newsstand
  • Wisconsin Historical Society


    U.S. historical events that occurred on December 16:

    1773: Colonists dump 300 chests of tea into the sea during the Boston Tea Party.
    1944: The Battle of the Bulge begins during World War II.



  • December 16

    December 16, 1870: Byron Kilbourn, surveyor and land speculator, died on December 16. He was born on September 8, 1801 in Connecticut but spent most of his childhood in Ohio, where he became a surveyor. In 1834, he came to Wisconsin to survey parts of Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties. Kilbourn purchased land on the west bank of the Milwaukee River in 1835 and actively promoted the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal Co. in hopes it would promote his town site. His competitor in Milwaukee was Solomon Juneau. Kilbourn was a member of the second constitutional convention and twice elected as mayor of Milwaukee. He was a pioneer in promoting railroads in Wisconsin but was involved in a railroad bond scandal which ruined his public career. Wisconsin Dells was first named after Kilbourn but changed the name in 1931.


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