ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Schurz Property and Subdivision of


Scathing article concerning sale of lots in subdivided Schurz’s Addition of Watertown.


From the Milwaukee Wisconsin, September 3, 1872, reprinted in Sacramento Daily Union, September 14, 1872.




Carl Schurz is so busy in expounding to the nation the corruption at the White House, and the nepotism of its occupant, that his own conscience ought to be exceedingly clean.  This natural supposition is not, however, borne out by facts.  His conduct in Watertown, the city which was the first of his many carpet-bagging residences, ought to be sufficient to silence him.


Carl Schurz came to Watertown in 1855, accompanied by his wife and several of his wife's relatives, who were destined to be only too conspicuous in the community.  He bought eighty-four acres outside of the town for $10,000, paying, however, only $1,500 of the amount down, and on it attempted to enact the role of a gentleman farmer.


He very soon became Alderman and Supervisor, and taking an active part in politics, was put up as a candidate for Lieutenant-Governor of this state in 1857.  Two years after he attempted to get the nomination for Governor, but failed, and went off in a huff to Minnesota, leaving Randall behind to be elected by a majority larger than that of his ticket. 


After speaking in Minnesota at his usual rates, cash in advance, Schurz turned his attention to stumping for Lincoln, and in February sought a reward as one of the commissioners to a peace conference talked of between the various States, North and South. In this he failed, but was more successful when he endeavored to obtain the Spanish mission with its $12,000 a year.


But even this did not satisfy him; be thirsted for military glory and returned to America. But fighting, any more than farming or diplomacy, did not suit his peculiar genius, and alter a disgraceful failure at Chancellorsville, May, 1863, he tried editing the Detroit Post, at the expense of Zack Chandler, only to prove an expensive failure.


Missouri next engaged the uneasy Senator's attention.  Editing was here his occupation, the Westliche Post this time being the victim.  Here he gained the office he at present occupies, taking his seat as United States Senator March 4th. 1869.  From this high position he reviews critically the conduct of his superiors, meanwhile shutting his eyes to his own. 


Watertown Land Dealings


But his doings at Watertown are not yet obliterated from the minds of his fellow-citizens.  In 1856 Schurz subdivided a certain tract of land known as Schurz's addition to Watertown, and sold lots in it to certain parties, fraudulently concealing from them the fact that, contrary to law, his tract was unrecorded, and the fact that his whole tract was subject to an encumbrance considerably exceeding its value when sold under foreclosure.


He had first mortgaged his property for $8,500, and then put a second mortgage on top of this as security for a debt of $3,200.  He sold lots in his addition, the plat of which was unrecorded, to George W. Perry, John Spiegelberg, G. Hildeman, John McDonald and Ferdinand Mueller, all persons in humble circumstances.


Schurz warranted Perry's lot "free and clear from all encumbrances whatever;" yet nine months after Perry had to buy a release of the encumbrance from Schurz's creditor at a cost of $250.  Hildeman in a like manner bought a lot, supposing he had got a clear title, but had to buy, by Perry's aid, his release from the mortgage.  F. Mueller, bought a $150 lot, but after putting a house upon it, had to abandon the whole on account of the title.  The lot bought by John McDonald for $150, on the understanding that it was clear of  encumbrance , was embraced in the foreclosure, and would have been lost to the owner — an invalid with a wife and  five children — had not the neighbors made up the amount necessary.  A man named Thielman, who had bought eight lots of Schurz, lost his property by the same closure. 


But the worst case in a bad list was that of Spiegelberg.  Spiegelberg was an ignorant German, with the largest faith in Schutz, the gentleman farmer.  On the $150 lot he bought of Schurz he put up a house worth $650.  The house and lot were sold out under foreclosure; and exit [left] Spiegelberg, utterly wiped out financially, thanks to the talent of the great Liberal Reformer.


The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company were also victims to Schurz to the tune of $2,500. 


These revelations are so minute, circumstantial and well-attested that they stamp Schurz as an extravagant and a slip-shod financier.  No language can be too strong to condemn the conduct by which his poor and ignorant countrymen were victimized by this windy critic.


Well paid himself, he could not do even justice to men beneath him, while he would exact far more than justice from the administrators of the Government.


He is a _?_ co-laborer of the sanguine, tetchy and slip-shod white-hatted philosopher to whom he has joined himself.


The developments of Carl Schurz's life in Wisconsin prove beyond all doubt his untrustworthiness as a practical reformer in the administration of financial affairs.  The people do not want profession regarding reform, for that is nothing but lip service, but they demand realization.




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