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Birdseye View of Milwaukee -- The Boy Who Would Not Tell A Lie

Nice example of this rare view of Milwaukee, celebrating the erection of a monument to Emanuel Dannan, who became a folk hero for his tale of honesty.

The story was of such power and importance in Wisconsin that the Dannan Memorial Assocation was created and later authorized by the Wisconsin State Legislature on March 8, 1854, to erect a monument in Emanuel's honor.

Herbert Reed, who is referenced as treasurer of the Dannan Memorial Association, was a Milwaukee Grocer, whose brother Harrison Reed served as the 9th Governor of Florida.

There is also a monument to Emanuel Dannon in Buffalo, Wisconsin.

Emanuel Dannon

Emanuel was born in Devonshire, England and came to America with his parents when he was two years old. Within three years both of his parents had died. An uncle retrieved him from the Poorhouse, but he, too died within a few months. Emanuel was placed with foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Norton from Illinois. Sam Norton's character was questionable. Around 1850, an itinerant peddler disappeared. His horse was found on the Norton farm--legend holds that the Nortons killed the man, and that Emanuel witnessed the crime.

To cover up the crime, the Nortons insisted that Emmanuel lie about the incident in their favor. Repeatedly, Emanuel told them, "I will not tell a lie." For this he was cruelly beaten. On November 30, 1851, his wrists were tied together, the rope thrown over a crossbeam in the barn, and the boy strung up. Then Emanuel was whipped for two hours with thick willow switches until he died. The Nortons stood trial and were found guilty of first degree manslaughter. They returned to Illinois after serving seven years in jail. Emanuel's present, permanent monument was dedicated May 2, 1954.


The view is very rare. We locate only the copies at the Library Collection and Stokes Collection at the New York Public Library.