Friday, May 1, 2015
Corydon P. Northrup
There are many history books out there, but none so fascinating to me as the biographical sketches of late 19th/early 20th century civic leaders. I always find it an intriguing read, and continually marvel that the authors can take someone who, by many accounts, would otherwise be considered an ordinary character of community life, and make his life so interesting. Among one of Menasha's civic leaders was Corydon Northrup. The following is an extract from an 1895 tome expounding on the virtues of the man:
"Corydon P. Northrup is the leading insurance man of Menasha, Winnebago County, and one of its honored early settlers and valued citizens. With its best interests he has long been identified, and in its development and up building he has ever borne a part. He is a native of Oneida County, N. Y., having first seen the light there December 2, 1820, and is a son of Cornelius Northrup, who was born in Greene County, N. Y., January 20, 1796, the eldest in a family of three sons and four daughters.
Corydon Northrup was a child of six years when his parents went to Ohio, and a youth of ten on their removal to Michigan, where he remained until 1841, during which time he worked on a farm, attended school and clerked in a store. In 1841, he returned to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where he engaged in the manufacture of spinning wheels until 1846, when he came to the Territory of Wisconsin, locating in Neenah, which was then a mere hamlet. During the succeeding year and a half he built the first house in Menasha, and on its completion it was occupied by his father and his family. Our subject worked in a sawmill and at the carpenter's trade until 1852, when he went to Two Rivers, where he was employed as shipping clerk for the lumber firm of Aldrich, Smith & Co., until 1860. On April 15, 1845, he married Miss Catherine A. Smith, a native of St. Lawrence County, N. Y., whose parents died when she was quite small, and she was then reared by an aunt. She died in Neenah, January 8, 1847, and on May 11, 1854, Mr. Northrup married Ellen A. Knibbs, who was born in England, November 2, 1829. During her infancy her parents emigrated to Canada, where shortly after her father died, leaving a family of seven children - John, Charles, Isaac, Mary, Ann, Naomi and Ellen. To Mr. and Mrs. Northrup were born nine children: Catherine A., Mary A., Henry M., Hattie I., Carrie N., Alice A., Lucy E. and two now deceased.
Mr. Northrup has been a resident of Menasha since February, 1860, at which time he entered a sawmill, and soon worked up to the position of superintendent of the Menasha Wooden Ware Company. In 1875, he left that business, and for a time followed carpentering and farming. Since 1887, however, he has given his entire time and attention to the insurance business in which he has met with good success. His life has been a busy and useful one, yet he has found time to devote to public interests. Some years since he served as a member of the board of county supervisors, and in 1888 was again elected to that office. In the spring of 1881, he was appointed city clerk of Menasha, but resigned the following fall. On May 1, 1888, he was again appointed to that position, and discharged his duties with a promptness and fidelity that won him high commendation. He has filled the offices of justice of the peace and alderman, and is ever true to the trusts reposed in him. Those who know him honor him for his sterling worth and strict integrity, and their high esteem he justly merits."
source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Fox River Valley Counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago, 1895, Chicago, J. H. Beers & Co.
Mr. Northrup, died in the summer of 1897 after the publication of this narrative, having lived and served in Menasha for well over 37 years.