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Alexis Clermont

First "Wisconsin" Mail Carrier
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Alexis Clermont was employed by Pierre B. Grignon, the official holder of the mail contract between Green Bay in what is now Wisconsin (but was Michigan Territory at the time) and Chicago. Clermont, who worked on this route from 1832-1836, traveled on foot for 480 miles, carrying as much as 60 pounds of mail. In addition to the end points, the route wound through Manitowoc, Two Rivers, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Skunk Grove, Grosse Point, IL. The round trip took one month, and paid between $60 and $70. He was not allowed to stop over in Chicago for more than one night, unless the Detroit mail (which came by steamer in summer and carrier in winter) was delayed.

After 1836, Clermont continued to carry mail, first between Green Bay and Portage, WI, then between Green Bay and L'Anse, MI. He eventually left the mail service and, before retiring to DePere, WI, worked piloting steamboats in Wisconsin waters.

In 1892, at age 88, Alexis Clermont again walked to Chicago wearing the same clothes he had worn on his route sixty years earlier. He left Green Bay on September 15 to attend the World's Fair, and arrived in Chicago in time to attend the dedication on October 20. This time, his trip took him through Kaukauna, Appleton, Menasha, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, West Bend, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Evanston, IL. Before he left, he told friends he was sure that Chicago had become no bigger than Green Bay, saying, "Those Chicago fellers always were blowhards, I knowed 'em of old, sir, and they can't fool me." No records exist of his comments upon his return to Green Bay.

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