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Milwaukee Sentinel – May 16, 1909



Discuss Claims of First White Boy Born in Milwaukee


Allender Gives Age as 21 When He Enlisted in 1861


Claims Date of Birth Is Recorded in Family Bible, Which He Seeks

Daniel Allender’s Claim

Based solely upon the claim that his parents, dead twenty years, told him he was the first white boy born in Milwaukee.

Claims to have a bible in which appears the date of his birth, but fears bible may have been destroyed by a flood.

Can not recall the month or year in which he was born. Claims parents never told him.

Enlisted, he says, in the First Wisconsin cavalry in 1861, and served during the entire civil war.

Gave his age to the enlisting officer as 21, which would make the year of his birth 1840, four years after the birth of Charles Milwaukee Sivyer.

Admits that there is a possibility of there having been a slight trace of India blood in one of his parents. In his own words : “I do not deny that there may have been.”

In Buck’s history of Milwaukee, and in all historical documents referring to Milwaukee, there is no mention of the name of Allender

Charles M. Sivyer Claim

Accepted by the Old Settler’s club as the first white boy born in Milwaukee, which fact is set forth on a bronze tablet adorning the store at 425 East Water street, where stood the house in which he was born on May 4, 1836.

The decision of the Old Settlers’ club was reached after exhaustive examinations of the authoritative historical documents and verbal evidence of Solomon Juneau, Mrs. Solomon Juneau, Mrs. P. Balser, Mr. Sivyer’s mother, and other members of his family.

The First White Boys

Born in Milwaukee – Charles Milwaukee Sivyer, May 4, 1836.

Born in Oak Creek – Horace N. Fowle, Feb 26, 1837.

Born in Town of Lake – George H. Chase, July 27, 1838.

Under provisions made by The Sentinel, Charles Milwaukee Sivyer has interviewed Daniel Allender, Northport, Wis., relative to Mr. Allender’s claim that he may have been the first boy to have been born in Milwaukee.

After carefully weighing all statements of Mr. Allender, Mr. Sivyer finds nothing which disproves his claim that Mr. Sivyer was the first white boy born in Milwaukee, when he came into the world on May 4, 1836. In a house which stood on property which now is 425 East Water street.

The only date which Mr. Allender is able to set forth is that of his enlistment in the regular army in 1861. He claims that he gave his age in that year to the cavalry as 21 years, which would make the year of his birth 1840. He says that he gave his age as 21 because the enlisting officer of the regiment wanted only men 21 years of age.

He Feels That His Claim Is Unshaken

As the guest of The Sentinel Mr. Sivyer boarded a train for New London, Wis., at 5:06 o’clock Friday morning, arriving in New London at 9:10 o’clock. A drive of four and on-half miles brought him to the squalid little home of Mr. Allender in the town of Northport, evidently prosperous during the good old lumber days, but now an embryo Oliver Goldsmith’s “Sweet Auburn.”

From 10:30 o’clock until noon Mr. Sivyer questioned Mr. Allender. Both freely discussed their relative claims. When Mr. Sivyer returned to the Grand hotel in New London for lunch he said:

“My claim to having been the first white boy born in Milwaukee has yet to be disproved. Mr. Allender’s only date tends to show that he may have been born four years after I was born.”

At 3:19 o’clock Mr. Sivyer boarded a train for Milwaukee, and shortly after 7 o’clock he was at home feeling none the worse for his hurried trip, despite the fact that he was 73 years of age on May 4.

Claim As Presented By Daniel Allender

On the date of the seventy-third birthday anniversary of Mr. Sivyer, Daniel Allender repeated his claim that he may have been the first white boy born in Milwaukee. Mr. Allender set forth only that his parents had told him that this was his honor, and that he believed that his family had come to Milwaukee in 1831, and that he was born one year later.

In a letter to The Sentinel, received on Thursday, Mr. Allender also claimed that he believed that a white girl had been born before he came into the world on the site of Milwaukee, but that the girl had died in Wauwatosa or Waukesha at the age of 8 or 9 years.

Mr. Allender claimed that he was born on Kilbourn hill, and he purported to recall instances in the life of Juneau and in his own school days.

Object of Journey Plainly Set Forth

When Mr. Sivyer entered the Allender home on Friday he plainly announced the occasion of his visit.

“Mr. Allender,” said Mr. Sivyer, “I have come to discuss with you your claim that you were the first white boy to have been born in Milwaukee. I want to find out upon what you base that claim. We will compare notes, and if possible we will ascertain to which belongs this honor both are claiming. I claim to have been the first white boy to have been born in Milwaukee. If you can show me that this honor belongs to you I shall be ready immediately to give you full credit.”

Mr. Allender, a tall, well preserved, one eyed civil war veteran, invited Mr. Sivyer to sit down, and he took a chair in front of him ready for the examination.

“Glad you have come, Mr. Sivyer,” he said. “Now, I don’t know much about this claim except what my parents told me. They told me I was the first white boy born in Milwaukee, and I would take an oath on a stack of bibles as big as the world that they told me this.”

The second Mrs. Allender, a prepossessing middle aged woman, at this point quietly withdrew and went to a neighbor’s house.

“Well, let’s proceed,” said Mr. Sivyer. “Upon what date were you born in Milwaukee?”

Claims He Was Born In A Hoop Shop

“I couldn’t say; I don’t remember. My parents never told me. The only record the family has of my birth is contained in a bible which my brother has. I fear also that this bible was destroyed in part in a flood through which the family once passed. We are trying to find that bible now.”

“Where were you born?” asked Mr. Sivyer.

“I was born on Kilbourn hill in a shop used for the making of hoops.”

“According to what I have seen, you claim that you may have been born in 1832. You could not have been born in a hoop shop.”

“Yes, it was hoop shop owned by Mr. Kilbourn.”

“But there were no hoop shops then. There were no breweries then, and no need to make hoops.”

“My parents have persisted that it was a hoop shop in which I was born,” insisted Mr. Allender.

Can Not Remember Name Of Teacher

“Did you go to school in Milwaukee?” asked Mr. Sivyer.

“O, yes, I went to school.”

“Where, and who was your teacher?”

“I do not remember, but I think it was on the east side. I can not remember who was my teacher.”

“Was your teacher a man or a woman?”

“I don’t remember. All that I recall about school days is that I once ran away from school. When I came home my mother had a butcher knife in her hand ready to cut a switch with which to whip me. I feared she was going to cut my throat and again ran away, but a neighbor brought me back.”

“It seems to me, Mr. Allender, that you surely ought to remember whether your teacher was a man or a woman, especially when the first teacher in Milwaukee was Eli Bates, who wore a wooden leg.”

“But I don’t. You see, I was young, and didn’t remember much.”

“How long did you go to school in Milwaukee?”

“I couldn’t say. Quite a while, I guess.”

Does Not Recall Dr. Enoch Chase

Mr. Sivyer took another line of questioning.

“What physician was present when you were born”?” he asked.

“None, I guess. My parents never told me that any one was with my mother. At least, I never heard of any physician being present.”

“What doctors do you remember having heard of during your boyhood in Milwaukee?”

“Well, let’s see. There was Wolcott, Holstein and Verbeck or Burdick. I may get some of these names wrong. I don’t seem to exactly recall them.”

“Did you ever hear of Dr. Enoch Chase?” asked Mr. Sivyer.

“No, I don’t recall the name. May have been there, though, me being so small as not to remember.”

“He was the best known doctor of his day in Milwaukee. I don’t see how any one could have lived in Milwaukee during his time, even though a child, and not remember him. But we will pass that. Where did your parents buy their supplies; in what store did they do their trading?”

Says Family Traded At “Gunyan’s” Store

Mr. Allender hestitated a minute.

“We bought what we needed at a store kept by a man named Gunyan, yes, that was the name.”

“During the time to which you are referring,” said Mr. Sivyer, “there was but one storekeeper in Milwaukee, and that was Solomon Juneau. It was Solomon Juneau who came to the home of my parents after my birth and promised to give me two lots if my parents would include “Milwaukee” in my name, because I was the first white boy born in Milwaukee. Surely Mr. Juneau would have known had you been born before the date of my birth. I never heard of Gunyan, and I do not believe that any other pioneer or old settler ever heard of him. Solomon Juneau, the only storekeeper in Milwaukee at the time to which we refer, knew what white children were born in those days, for white children were really curiosities. He knew that Milwaukee Smith was the first white girl, and myself have heard both Mr. and Mrs. Juneau say that I was the first white boy.”

“Maybe, maybe,” said Mr. Allender. “I only know what my parents told me.”

Never Was Told Date Of Birth

“Didn’t your parents tell you when you were born?” asked Mr. Sivyer.

“All Ithat I remember is that they told me I was the first white boy born in Milwaukee. They never told me the date of my birth, but as near as I can figure it out it was one year after my family arrived in 1831. We stayed in Milwaukee until 1842, when my father took up land in Menominee and became a farmer. My family came originally from Ohio. We first went to Michigan City, then to Chicago, then on to Milwaukee by team. I remember that a man named Barbee drove us to Milwaukee. It was William Barbee. My father had a hard time getting work until Mr. Kilbourn came, then he worked for him on the canal. My mother did washing to help support the family until my father got steady work. There were two sons beside me, William Allender, now also in Wisconsin; George, who is a resident of Idaho, and a sister, Mrs. Mary Dodge, mother of a niece of mine who is a stenographer in Milwaukee. Now that is about as far as I can go with facts.”

Name Not Given In Any History

Mr. Sivyer could not recall the man Barbee, nor could he recall Dr. Holstein.

“I have searched all historical records and histories, notably J. S. Buck’s Pioneer History of Milwaukee, and nowhere can I find the name of Allender mentioned. Mr. Buck wrote his history after having talked with every resident of Milwaukee, during his day, for names and dates. How do you account for the fact that he never seemed to know anything about your family?”

“All I know is what my parents told me,” repeated Mr. Allender. “It does seem strange in the face of what they told me that there is no mention of our name in records. I repeat, I am will to swear on a stack of bibles as big as the world that my parents told me what I claim they did.”

Concerning the deaths of his parents, Mr. Allender said that both passed away about twenty years ago. He said that the bible record referred to must be in the possession of his older brother, William, and that he expected to find it, providing it had not been obliterated by the flood through which the bible had passed.

Age Given When He Joined The Army

At this juncture the representative of The Sentinel who accompanied Mr. Sivyer on his unique mission asked questions which brought out the only dates Mr. Allender mentioned with certainty.

Mr. Allender and wife live in a small one story frame house on the outskirts of Northport, which railroad directories claim contain 348 people. Evidences of extreme frugality are apparent in every inch of the Allender home. The house is surrounded by a small plot of ground under cultivation as a garden and worked by Mr. Allender, who is by no means as inactive as men who claim to be 77 years old usually are.

“How do you earn your livelihood?” Mr. Allender was asked.

“O, I get a pension of $17 a month, and I manage ot get along. You see our tastes are not big.”

“Were you wounded in battle?”

“No, I am suffering from a rupture. I did not see many engagements, as I was a wagoner in the ordnance department of the regiment.”

“Have you your discharge from the service?”

“O, yes. I have all my papers.”

“When you enlisted what age did you give?”

“I enlisted in 1861 and I gave the age of 21.”

“That would make the year of your birth 1840, eight years after you say your parents claim you were born, and four years after the year of Mr. Sivyer’s birth.”

“Well, let me explain that a little. You see, Col. Daniels, under whom I enlisted, insisted that every man who enlisted should be exactly 21 years of age, and the same size of a man. That’s how I came to give my age as 21. You see I must have been much older.”

Mr. Allender did not produce his army papers, but said that he would be willing to product them if it was necessary.

Present Of Brandy And Some Cigars

Mr. Allender says that he has been twice married. He has three sons by his first wife and a son and a daughter by his second wife. Sons by the first wife are William Allender, Shawano; Eugene Allender, Tennessee; Russell Allender, Neenah. The son of the present Mrs. Allender is Charles Allender, who is in the navy, and the daughter is Mrs. Effie Lyons, Northport. None of the children is in a position to give their parents much financial assistance. However, the parents seem to be in not need of any. They evidently are satisfied with their primitive home and life, and both impress the visitor as people who are satisfied with the lots fortune has thrown their way.

Mr. Sivyer brought with him a sample of some excellent dandelion brandy and some good cigars which he presented to Mr. Allender, and which the Northport man tested as he recalled incidents he had heard related of Solomon Juneau.

Aside from fifteen years spent in Tennessee, Mr. Allender claims to have resided in the Badger state when not in the service of Uncle Sam. As Mr. Sivyer was about to leave the Allender home Mr. Allender stood beside his guest and asked The Sentinel representative:

“Which of us looks to be the oldest?”

But the answer was forgotten in the leave taking.

Proof Of Claim Of Charles M. Sivyer

Here is the proof of the birth of Charles Milwaukee Sivyer, upon which the Old Settler’s club bases its authority for pronouncing him the first white boy born in Milwaukee.

Mr. Sivyer was born in Milwaukee on May 4, 1836. There were with Mrs. Sivyer at the time of the birth Dr. Enoch Chase, the best known physician of his day, a man referred to by Historian Buck in the highest terms, and Mrs. Solomon Juneau, who pronounced Mr. Sivyer the first white boy born in Milwaukee. The day after Mr. Sivyer’s birth Solomon Juneau visited the Sivyer home and made the promise of two lots to the babe, provided “Milwaukee” was included in his name. The request was complied with, but in the hurry of pioneer days Mr. Juneau forgot to keep his promise of the gift.

At all recent gatherings of the Old Settlers’ club Mr. Sivyer’s claim has been repeatedly referred to and accepted as authentic, especially by Horace N. Fowle and George H. Chase, other first white boys born in the vicinity.

Invited To Be Visitor In August

One other was advanced years ago a a claimant for the first white boy honors. He was Lou Trembley a halfbreed member of the Pottawatomie tribe. He moved with his tribe to Kansas and was thrown out of the tribe for bad conduct. He was lynched in Wyandotte, Kas., in 1867. He was known as the “bad halfbreed from Wisconsin.” He had French Canadian blood in his veins.

Before leaving the Allender home, Mr. Sivyer invited Mr. Allender to visit Milwaukee during homecoming week in August.

“Come down and talk over things with the old settlers during the homecoming,” he said. “They will be glad to see you. All you have to do is to come up to the Old Settlers’ club and you will find a welcome. Bring your bible record with you, and we will try again to completely clear up your claim to an honor which I feel as yet is surely mine.”

As his guest drove away Mr. Allender, puffing at the Sivyer cigar, stood near his small home and waved farewell.

Daniel Allender Vs. Charles Sivyer

Owner/SourceTranscribed by June Ristow
Linked toDaniel L Allender

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